UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya tells Namita Bajpai that UP will give the BJP its biggest chunk of seats in the Lok Sabha polls.
What is your expectation from the UP voters?
We will better our 2014 performance. We will be back with a bigger share. In 2014, we did not have any achievements to go to the people with. In spite of that, we got a massive mandate. Now, we can showcase the achievements of the Modi and Yogi governments, which is a huge plus.
Would Priyanka Gandhi’s plunge into politics impact the polls?
Yes, the first impact has been the flight of her brother and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to Wayanad in Kerala. She has campaigned extensively even before, across 45 seats, but what did that do for the Congress? She’s not a magician who can pull a rabbit out of a hat.
If Priyanka decides to fight the election against PM Modi in Varanasi, the SP-BSP-RLD alliance may extend support to her. How challenging could the contest be then?
She is most welcome to contest against Modiji. She should fulfil her wish and the Congress should not come in her way.
How well prepared are you to counter the challenge posed by the SP-BSP-RLD alliance on the ground?
Their calculation is based on caste. Had they allied in 2014, they may have succeeded, but the situation has changed. People are ready to rise above such petty divides for development. They know that Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati are concerned only about their own welfare and not of the backwards, Dalits, deprived sections and the poor.
The track record of your government when it comes to job creation has been questioned
The Modi and Yogi governments have done much more than any previous government on this count.
BJP lost both, your bastion Phulpur and Gorakhpur, Yogi’s turf, in last year’s bypolls
The bypolls were meant to elect MPs. This is an election to elect the next prime minister. We are set to repeat our 2014 performance, and, in fact, better it this year
You breached the SP-BSP citadel by drawing the NISHAD party to your fold. How did you manage to do it?
The deprived sections are with the PM as far as his development mantra is concerned. They genuinely feel that the PM has worked sincerely and is committed to ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’. They want the nation to make further strides under Modiji’s leadership.
Keshav Prasad Maurya
UP Deputy Chief Minister