'During every election, the Gandhis come and inaugurate some projects and then leave without completing it.'
It seems that Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ajay Agarwal is a firm believer in second chances.
In a letter to BJP national President Amit Anilchandra Shah, Agarwal has said that despite his loss to United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli in the 2014 general election, it would be disastrous for the party not to field him from the same constituency again.
In the letter, he said he polled 173,000 votes against Gandhi in 2014 without the support of state and central leaders.
'I request you to give me a chance to contest from Rae Bareli again and not to change the candidate here. In 2014, I secured 1.73 lakh votes against Sonia Gandhi and that too without any meeting of star campaigners, including Narendra Modi or any state or national-level BJP leader,' the letter quoted Agarwal as saying.
Agarwal tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com about the edge he has over Sonia Gandhi owing to his work on the ground level and how "things have changed and the Congress will not win Rae Bareli".
It looks like you are very confident of winning against Sonia Gandhi and are demanding a ticket. What gives you such confidence?
I contested elections against her in 2014 and got 1.73 lakh votes despite the fact that Prime Minister Modi did not campaign for me in Rae Bareli.
I have worked very hard for Rae Bareli for the past five years even though I lost and the work I have done on the ground level speaks for itself.
I have ground contact with people of Rae Bareli. I am close to all the locals of Rae Bareli.
In the last five years Sonia Gandhi did not even come five times to Rae Bareli.
Sonia Gandhi has got no connect with voters of Rae Bareli.
On the other hand, I restarted AIIMS in Rae Bareli which was not functioning after meeting Health Minister J P Nadda.
Even the rail coach factory production did not start and I continuously met the railways minister and worked on that aspect front too.
Why do you think that the Gandhis have not been ousted from Rae Bareli? What is that deep emotional connection that makes voters opt for the Gandhis every time?
The Gandhis have no emotional connection to Rae Bareli. It was their government then at the Centre and they knew how to manipulate elections therefore they won Rae Bareli. But now things have changed and the Congress will not win Rae Bareli.
Why do you feel you will not get the BJP ticket from Rae Bareli?
The BJP is delaying giving the ticket to me.
You mentioned that you are at an advantage because you have the support of 2.21 lakh voters from the Vaish community in Rae Bareli.
When the BJP has Modi and the people vote for him, do you really think caste politics matter then in UP?
Every community feels that some member from within themselves should get the party ticket to contest elections; they must get their political representation.
In Uttar Pradesh today, only one person from the Vaish community has been given a ticket by the BJP in 2019.
Last elections, there were three candidates from the Vaish community. So there is resentment among my caste.
Though there should be no caste politics, but still caste politics does exist in India. No party can deny this.
Many anti-Sonia posters have reportedly come up in Rae Bareli. Is it ordinary people who are putting them up or is it BJP supporters who are putting such posters against the Gandhis?
Sonia Gandhi never visits her constituency -- Rae Bareli. Only once or twice Sonia Gandhi must have visited Rae Bareli in the last five years to attend some programme. Therefore, people have put up posters like the one you have mentioned.
It is not the BJP people who have put up such posters, but the common man has put up such posters.
There are so many mosquitoes that make life miserable for the people of Rae Bareli. Many places in Rae Bareli are filthy and these are problems that need to be addressed.
So, I feel it is more advantageous for me to win again Sonia Gandhi now.
Major Surendra Poonia is rumoured to contest against Sonia Gandhi. Considering his background from the armed forces, don't you think he has a better chance to win against Sonia?
I have no idea about his name being discussed for the Rae Bareli seat.
In a recent survey, Rae Bareli was ranked as the 49th city in India in terms of Ease of Living development index. Why are things so bad?
There has been no development in Rae Bareli though it is the bastion of the Gandhi family. They only give false promises to the people of Rae Bareli. They only do inauguration of projects in Rae Bareli and never complete any project.
As I told you about the AIIMS, they just inaugurated the hospital and then there was no progress.
During every election, the Gandhis come and inaugurate some projects and then leave without completing it.
How will you make a difference to the lives of people in Rae Bareli if you win?
People of Rae Bareli are very good. They are simple, sober and peace loving. They are very contented people. Therefore, the crime rate is very negligible. And if I get a chance to serve them, I will be very happy to do that.
What will you do if the BJP doesn't give you a ticket? What will be your next move?
I have not thought about that yet.