‘BJP’s strength is its workers and trust of the masses’
By Ejaz Kaiser | Published: 29th July 2017 10:41 PM |
Cited as a master poll strategist and the number two in Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh’s Cabinet, Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Brijmohan Agrawal talks to Ejaz Kaiser on the BJP’s election strategy, the controversy over forest land purchase by his family and farmers’ issues. Excerpts:
With the NDA government at the Centre, can you remain complacent?
Absolutely not. We are judged more by our performance and output towards the nation, the state and the party. Under PM Narendra Modi’s regime, accomplishments of every elected BJP leader is closely evaluated, which is appreciable and advantageous.
What is the BJP’s strategy against anti-incumbency?
Party president Amit Shah has asked the Chhattisgarh BJP to chalk out a strategy, which he will discuss in his October visit. BJP’s strength is its committed workers and trust of the masses. Booth rank cadres are important. Victory at booth levels ensure wins at Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha.
How will the 2018 Assembly elections be for the BJP?
Chhattisgarh is a small state with a bipolar contest between the BJP and the Congress. The situation gets tough, resulting in a narrow margin contest. We have an advantage of overall trust of the masses. Our focus remains on development that won the people’s confidence.
The economy depends on agriculture, but farmers are committing suicide.
The situation is better in Chhattisgarh where farmers repay over 70 per cent of their loans. There’s no issue of crop failure or poor rainfall. Despite this if farmers are in trouble, they must approach us. Suicide is not a solution.
How does BJP help farmers?
Investment by farmers should be minimum and they should reap more profits. The objective is to increase their income. During the Congress regime, farmers’ income was low as they didn’t get facilities. BJP gave loans to them at zero per cent interest, 7,500 to 9,000 units of free power, subsidised seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, paddy at minimum support price. We have diversified the role of farmers into horticulture, veterinary, fisheries, poultry and encouraged them to be part of integrated agriculture practice.
Your family purchased 4.12 hectare of forest land in 2009 from a farmer who donated it to the water resources department in 1994. You built a resort on it.
We haven’t done anything unlawful. How can we be held accountable for the seller? The land was purchased as per rules. I declared it in my affidavit during the 2013 polls. If we are proved wrong, I’ll happily surrender the land.