Uttar Pradesh BJP general secretary and Noida candidate, Pankaj Singh calls the poll pact between Samajwadi Party and Congress an opportunistic alliance stitched out of desperation. The 38-year old son of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh—an electoral debutant—feels the party has rested faith in him given the 15-16 years of hard work at the grass root level. A Delhi University product and an MBA-holder, Pankaj Singh feels corruption is the biggest challenge faced by his constituency. Two days ahead of the polls, he spoke to TNIE’s Namita Bajpai. Excerpts:
Why did you choose Noida? Why not Lucknow or Mirzapur, your native place, to fight the ensuing elections?
It is an issue which is decided by the party. Whatever the party decides, we accept it.
What are the issues plaguing your constituency?
There are a number of issues which need attention but corruption—of the highest order—is the biggest challenge here. If that is aptly addressed, all other issues will be easily resolved.
Your take on SP-Congress alliance?
It is an opportunistic alliance. Both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party have conceded defeat. The Congress, which claims to be the tallest national party, has shrunk to just 100 seats in the biggest battlefield of politics. On the other hand, if the SP is sparing a good 100 seats to the Congress despite winning the 2012 assembly elections with an absolute majority, it shows their realisation the people of Uttar Pradesh are no longer with them. It is under this desperation that they have come together.
How strong and long-lasting this alliance seems to be?
Till very late in these elections, they had been attacking each other. Congress’ slogan, “27 saal, UP behal,” was talking about those 27 years of the non-Congress rule during which SP had the longest stint. But when they felt the need and the defeat staring at them, they held hands with each other.
BJP is opposed to the politics of dynasty. Your father is a Union Minister. What is your take?
The party hasn’t given me the ticket as Rajnath Singhji’s son. I have been fielded by the party as an average worker who has put good 15-16 years in the party at the grass root level. I have reached this stage after starting from scratch. I have been the party’s general secretary, technically, for four times. I think the party has allotted me the ticket by evaluating those years of hard work.
Your prospects as the future CM of Uttar Pradesh?
Not at all. I have already said I am a very small party worker. BJP has got a whole lot of experienced and competent leaders who have sacrificed their whole life for the party and for the people. The BJP will choose from any one of them. It will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time.
Do you think demonetisation will hit BJP’s prospects in ensuing elections?
There is not an iota of scepticism on the party’s prospects in the ensuing polls due to demonetisation. People have accepted it willingly. Modiji was given a historic mandate to bring about a big meaningful change in governance. People wanted his government to root out corruption, to work for development and national security. I think the surgical strikes and demonetisation should not be perceived as just the poll issues. These are huge steps taken by the Centre to take the country forward.
Why didn’t your father campaign for you?
Though it was decided by the party, he didn’t come to my constituency for campaigning as he has his own ideals, ethics and principles. Let him follow them. I appreciate and respect that.