BJP Will Sweep Elections In Gujarat: Vijay Rupani 

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BJP Will Sweep Elections In Gujarat: Vijay Rupani 

| Updated: May 6, 2024 13:34

The former CM of Gujarat, Rupani is confident that Parshottam Rupala will win

Apparently, it was after a lot of drama behind the scenes that Vijay Rupani succeeded Anandiben Patel as the chief minister of Gujarat in August 2016. Rupani saw many ups and downs during his five-year stint as the chief minister of the state.

Soon after attending a programme in Ahmedabad in 2021 where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present, Rupani and his council of ministers resigned.

A few years later, in September 2022, he was made the party’s in-charge for Punjab. Hailing from Rajkot, 68-year-old Rupani is handling a dual responsibility. He has taken time out to campaign for Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala, BJP’s Rajkot candidate, other candidates in the state, while also visiting Punjab.

In an exclusive interview to ‘Vibes of India’, Rupani talks about the Kshatriya controversy, the resolve of the people of Gujarat, Ram Temple and about BJP in Punjab.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. How will the BJP perform in Gujarat?

A. The BJP won all the 26 seats in 2014 and 2019. This time also, we will win 26 seats. There is no doubt about it.

Q. You hail from Rajkot and know the region very well. Will the Kshatriya issue help Congress candidate Paresh Dhanani?

A. The Kshatriya issue has no doubt cropped up. But Rupala Saheb will surely win. There will be no difference in the result. Rajkot has been the BJP’s fortress. In Rajkot, the BJP has cadre till the booth level. 

Q. Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil has always spoken about winning all the seats by a margin of 5 lakh votes. Can this be accomplished in Rajkot?

A. We had a lead of three lakh plus in the 2019 election. Our performance will remain the same. There won’t be any difference.

Q. According to you, what are the issues in the Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat?

A. This time, the election has only one issue – Narendrabhai is from Gujarat. His feelings and relations with the state will influence voters. Public opinion and the public are with Narendrabhai. The whole thing is about making Narendrabhai the Prime Minister of India again, for the third time. People of Gujarat have made a firm resolve to do this.

At the booths, the voting will be on this issue. Candidates will become secondary. In the name of Modi only, people will press the Lotus button.

Q. So, is the candidate not important? Suppose the party has given a ticket to “X” person, but “Y” person is better. If the party had given a ticket to “Y” person, would he not have got more votes?

A. We contest elections on the basis of party workers. The BJP’s organisation is cadre-based right from the booth level to the top. We contest the elections based on the capabilities of our workers devoted to the ideology. We have given tickets to only those who have been recommended by the party workers and hence we do not have any problem with the candidate. People will vote for the ideology, they will vote in the interest of what is good for Gujarat and the nation.

Q. You said that Gujarat will vote to have Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister for the third time. Do you think that people of Gujarat vote on the basis of issues? What is your observation?

A. There was opposition against Indira Gandhi in the past. Nav Nirman Andolan took shape in Gujarat (1973). The duo of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel gave shape to the freedom movement from Gujarat. Similarly, Narendrabhai and Amitbhai have become symbols of good governance and people are proud as Gujaratis.

Gujarat always guides the nation. The wave that emerges from Gujarat is reflected at the national level.

Q. This time the Congress candidates are good. It is for the first time it has happened that there has not been any opposition against the candidates. On the other hand, the BJP faced opposition in Vadodara and Sabarkantha. The candidates had to be changed. And, then the Kshatriya controversy arose. Your comments.

A. The cadre of Congress is finished. Congress leaders also do not want to contest elections. This is because they know that defeat is inevitable. So, why get into it? The Congress faced the issue of candidates till the last minute. Its Surat candidate ran away after filing nomination.

The Congress then asked all its senior leaders to contest. Hence, the senior leaders are contesting. But I believe that they will not get votes in today’s scenario. About the BJP, so many people wanted to contest elections and had asked for tickets. Since the party is very big, at times you may feel that there is a problem in the party. So, the Vadodara candidate was changed after there was a problem once the names were announced. Thereafter, there has been no problem anywhere else.

Q. You had to change the candidate in Sabarkantha also.

A. There was a caste issue in Sabarkantha. We had to change because of that.

Q. The Surat and Indore LS were considered safe seats for the BJP. It is alleged that the BJP did arm-twisting in these seats.

A. If I tell you the truth, it happened only in one out of the 26 seats in Gujarat. Congress has much more problems with candidates.

There are instances where a  Congress candidate has alleged that nobody was cooperating with him. The party had internal problems and that is why the candidature was withdrawn. The Congress alleges that it was withdrawn due to the BJP’s pressure. This shows how weak the Congress is internally and the party leadership is not able to control its members. People are leaving the Congress in the country and the party is a sinking ship.

Q. You have campaigned in Rajkot. You are also in-charge of the BJP in Punjab. How are you handling the dual responsibility?

A. I have been in Gujarat for the last four days. Initially, when Rupalaji filed his papers, I was part of the activities. In Gujarat, I went to places where the party asked me to go. As the party’s election in-charge for Punjab, I spend more time in Punjab. I will go back to Punjab on May 8. There is enough time for me. Punjab votes in the last phase of elections.

Q. How is the election atmosphere in Punjab?

A. For the first time, the BJP is fighting all 13 seats. Till now, we used to have an alliance with the Akali Dal. And, the Akali Dal used to give us three seats and fight on 10 seats. This time, we are contesting 13 seats, plus one seat of Chandigarh. 

People in Punjab are unhappy with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. People feel that they have been cheated, not one poll promise has been fulfilled. The law and order situation is bad. Drugs have ruined the lives of the youth. People of Punjab are tired because of these issues. In the past, they have also seen the Akali Dal-Congress government and they have not been satisfied with it. People have started believing that only the BJP and Modi will be able to do something. I have full faith that this time there will be a sizable increase in the number of seats we win. We had won two seats last time.

Q. Did you find difficulty in zeroing in on good candidates as you are contesting on all the 13 seats?
A. We have got the candidates. We have capable candidates. Many people had asked for tickets on each of the seats.

Q. In the last few days in Gujarat, why is the slogan ‘Aab ki baar 400 paar’ and ‘Lead of 5 lakh votes’ not being heard?

A. For how long will one continue the same thing? People have understood this. In one public meeting in Ahmedabad where I was present, when the slogans ‘Aab ki baar 400 paar’, ‘Fir se ek baar Modi sarkar’ were raised, women said, ‘Fir se nahi, baar baar Modi sarkar’. That’s the kind of response we get. 

Q. If you (the BJP) is so confident, what is the reason that you have to seek votes in the name of religion? There are big advertisements of the Ram temple. Your comments.

A. Ram Temple is an important issue. It is about the unity of the country. Lord Rama is the symbol of the country’s unity. It has been a 500-year struggle for the Hindus. The temple was built, the idol of Lord Rama has been installed. It is very natural that it is discussed in this election and people will give importance to the topic.  

Q. Why is low-level language being used by both the BJP and the Congress in election campaigning?

A. I believe it should not be used. The impulse should be controlled. It is necessary. All should exercise restraint.

Q. What is the reason for low voting turnout in the second phase of elections?

A. I do not know the reason as the polls have been outside Gujarat. But the BJP does not need to worry. Our voters have voted. Our voters are eager to vote. Congress voters are disinterested and perhaps the low voter turnout is because of that.

Also Read: BJP Goes All Out To Placate Kshatriya Members Following Rupala Controversy

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