You and the PM have been honouring backward class reformers. Is it vote bank politics?
Please don’t call them backward class. Wherever we’ve gone, we’ve paid tribute to those who have contributed to the country’s social and cultural fields. Do not connect them with vote banks. In Bengal, I visited the birthplaces of both Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Swami Vivekananda and paid shradhanjali to Rabindranath Tagore.
What is your definition of nationalism?
It is not so easy to define nationalism. But it does not mean breaking the nation into pieces in the name of liberal thought.
How do you propose to make regional pride one with national pride?
When different regional prides come together, national pride is born. The BJP is both personality and ideology driven, by Modi and Hindutva. Regional parties are mainly personality driven by Lalu Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, KCR. Can your party fill the ideological vacuum in regional parties?
It is not appropriate for me to comment on this. However, I believe that only an ideology-driven party can bring progress to the country.
How will BJP counter Naxalite ideology?
In Naxal areas, we’ve won over the people through development. Armed Naxalites will be eliminated with decisive force. Naxalvaad is almost finished in Jharkhand and Maharashtra, and in many districts of Chhattisgarh.
In West Bengal and Kerala, political violence is associated with the Left and TMC. Will the Centre intervene to end this?
We respect the federal structure of the Constitution. We’ll mobilise the people using campaigns, but only through legal means. As the party president, I would like to say the BJP will give a fitting response to the TMC and Left, which are making assaults on democracy. But only using legal methods.
Pakistan has ratcheted up its armed aggression with shelling, beheading Indian jawans and cross-border terrorism. How will you tackle it?
Whenever the occasion has demanded, we’ve taken strong steps. The most decisive actions to combat terrorism have been taken in the three years of the Narendra Modi government.
What is your vision for India?
We want Bharat to rank among the world’s most important nations. Modiji is working hard to reach that goal. In three years, the BJP government has ended many contradictions prevailing in the country. Each time we’re asked, is the government concentrating on urban development or rural development? This government has done justice to both. We’re asked whether the government belongs to industrialists or to farmers. This government has demonstrated that industrial development and agriculture growth can go together. It has been often asked whether the government is pro-reform or promotes a Welfare State. We’ve established that this government is engaged in reform as well as in bringing livelihood to the poor to improve their lifestyles.