'When the campaign started the Congress said it had been miserable for the last 27 years for UP and that people should get rid of those who made it miserable, and that they should bring back the glorious years of the Congress.'
'Then they joined hands with those who ruled for the last 26 years. Some called it a shrewd strategy, but to the people this was not shrewdness.'
'Where is the credibility in your actions when you change direction of the campaign?'
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
Before Muralidhar Rao was appointed as the Bharatiya Janata Party's national general secretary, he was an organising secretary of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch.
One of the BJP's young stars in a party known for articulate voices, Rao discusses the UP triumph witb Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier.
The BJP's huge victory in UP has been described as a Modi tsunami.
Modiji is like a captain, a good leader who leads from the front. He campaigned very vigorously and aggressively.
We, the workers pf the party, were also reaching out to the people and telling them what Modiji's government has done to them, both the programmes and the substance.
We were spreading Modiji's message to the people. This worked very well and the people have endorsed what we have been telling them.
Do you feel demonetisation helped the BJP win more than 300 seats?
The issue that worked in favour of the BJP is not just demonetisation, there were various programmes and schemes starting from the Jan Dhan Yojana, the Mudra Yojana, the Ujwala Yojana, Swach Bharat and finally demonetisation.
It is not just demonetisation. The philosophy of the government and all the schemes worked in a comprehensive way for the party.
Many thought that the difficulties faced by the common people due to demonetisation would go against the BJP and Modi.
Did the party feel at any point that demonetisation would work against the BJP? Was the party nervous about its impact?
Never. We were working on the ground and it was very clear to us that the people appreciated it.
We understood that people were looking for a bold leader whom they can trust.
They had no doubt about the integrity of not just Modiji, but the entire machinery.
On the other hand, the machinery of Akhilesh Yadav was riddled with goondaism.
So, we never had any doubts, the message was coherent and clear.
During the Bihar elections there was a maha ghadbandhan against the BJP like the SP-Congress alliance. Narendra Modi also campaigned extensively in the state.
Why are the UP results so different from the Bihar verdict?
Each state is different and the timing also is important.
When he faced the electorate of UP, Modiji could show the people what he has done in the last two-and-a-half years.
He could tell the people of UP with confidence that we were able to deliver what we had promised.
When the Bihar elections happened, we could not tell them about Ujwala or Jan Dhan and the people had not experienced Swach Bharat.
So, what worked in favour of Modiji was what we have done in the last two-and-a-half years.
Political analysts talk about a particular caste or religion voting in favour of a particular party, but the results do not show such a pattern.
These people do not understand the psyche of people. They articulate issues through a tinted glass.
When they say India is a country that has many castes, it is correct.
When they say India is a country where people believe in many religions, it is correct.
But that Indian society works always under caste compulsions is not correct.
The same society has delivered judgments at different times differently.
They were able to transcend caste and religion when there is a different agenda or leadership.
There are many instances when they over-ruled caste influences.
You say when Modi spoke of Vikas, it transcended caste and religion and that was why he could connect with all people.
It also depends on who is talking about the agenda.
Unless the person who speaks has credibility, it will not become a potential agenda.
The leader who spoke of Vikas could motivate people and had credibility.
Modiji had it and that worked for the BJP.
The Congress said it was only because Narendra Modi could market his idea better that he won.
The problem is they don't want to understand their weaknesses. The Opposition is bankrupt today.
Intellectual bankruptcy is the most dangerous thing to happen.
When the campaign started the Congress said it had been miserable for the last 27 years for UP and that people should get rid of those who made it miserable, and that they should bring back the glorious years of the Congress.
Then they joined hands with those who ruled for the last 26 years. Some called it a shrewd strategy, but to the people this was not shrewdness.
Where is the credibility in your actions when you change direction of the campaign?
Do you think people will accept this? Rahul Gandhi is not capable of leading the party and reviving it.
His leadership has not been working in UP for the last 15 years.
The BJP is talking about a Congress mukt Bharat. If there is no good Opposition, won't you become complacent? Is it good for a democracy?
Don't take it literally; it is a context.
We are talking about the corrupt Congress and the dynastic Congress. We are not saying there shouldn't be an Opposition.
And there are many other parties that can be Opposition parties against the BJP.
We are not saying the BJP should rule always and no other parties should exist.
Ours is a democracy.
Another criticism against the BJP is that it has created intolerance in society...
You see, intolerant people are abusing tolerant society.
Indian society has seen many ups and downs in the last thousands of years and it has withstood all.
If it had not become intolerant in the last 6,000 years, how can it become intolerant now?
The Opposition parties call the BJP a communal party...
The tag communal is slowly becoming out of place.
When we started, we were called an urban party, a Dilli party.
Then we were called a Brahmin-Bania party.
After that, we were the North Indian party, then a non-Dalit party.
We have overcome all these things in our journey of growth.
These names have no relevance today.
We have now established ourselves as a true national party representing the total diversity of Indian society.
After the win in UP, do you think Narendra Modi will be more confident and have more strength to go ahead with the economic plans he was talking about?
He is always confident and it doesn't depend on any election win.
Yes, he will have more strength today to implement and deliver the programmes.
This win will have consequences and implications in the Rajya Sabha and also in the functioning of Parliament.
Definitely, his acceptability will be much more.
From the results in Punjab and Goa, it is quite evident that people are quite unforgiving to those politicians who do not perform...
Technology has created a challenge for politicians.
Today, people have become more aware because of the technological tools that help people to judge and scrutinise the politicians more.
Only performing parties and performing politicians will be able to survive in today's times.
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