Congress ‘7 guarantees’ will beat anti-poor BJP, says Gehlot
Gehlot speaks to Rajesh Asnani and expresses confidence that the party will retain power on the basis of his government’s performance.
The ruling Congress in Rajasthan is trying to buck the trend of changing the governments every five years. The core strength of the Congress government is said to be its welfare schemes. For Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, this election is critical for his political future. Gehlot speaks to Rajesh Asnani and expresses confidence that the party will retain power on the basis of his government’s performance. Excerpts:
How are you going to reverse the trend of change of government in Rajasthan?
The policies of the Congress government in Rajasthan and the people are going to change this trend. Our welfare policies are unprecedented and will make history on November 25 (the day of elections).
In addition to your government’s social welfare schemes, you have also announced seven guarantees. Will you be able to fulfill these guarantees if you return to power?
We’ve used the word ‘guarantees’ consciously. It is after acknowledging the needs of the people in detail that these guarantees have been launched. These are not empty promises or BJP’s jumlas. We are committed to their fulfillment through our guarantee card with a registration number on it, through which citizens can give a missed call to register themselves for the 7 Guarantees. Citizens who register themselves through the number will get priority in the welfare schemes. This Guarantee Card is a solemn promise to the voter by the Congress.
PM Narendra Modi talks about distributing freebies…
Our economic parameters are better than any other north Indian state as per the Niti Aayog data. Rajasthan’s economic growth is 11.04%, second only to Andhra Pradesh in the country. The state’s finances are in a better shape. It is insulting to the people of Rajasthan to call them “freebies” and “revdis.”
Is it a Modi-vs-Gehlot election since Congress has given you prominence in the campaign and BJP has not projected any state leader as the CM’s face?
This is not about Gehlot-vs-anybody. This election is between the welfare of the people and an agenda that is not pro-poor. The party that wants to get back to power is anti-poor, they oppose all our schemes and pro-poor policies and they stand only for the welfare of the rich. It is my responsibility as the CM and the leader of my party that I should represent the ‘welfarist’ agenda and the pro-poor governance that we have implemented in five.
You have praised (former BJP CM) Vasundhara Raje many times. If she had been projected as the CM’s face, would this election have been more difficult or easy for Congress?
First of all, this is not correct that I have praised her for any kind of performance. You will be surprised to know, that during her tenure as Chief Minister, we were not on talking terms. In fact, there would have been a better comparison if there was a BJP face.
BJP has your government of Muslim appeasement. The Prime Minister says that your government is sympathetic to terrorists…
Appeasement politics is not the nature of the Congress. We believe in taking the economically weaker sections of society forward. I do not want to comment on statements that have no meaning and hold no merit. We are sympathetic towards the poor and downtrodden and we will do everything in our capacity for their welfare.
You’ve said there is no anti-incumbency against your government, but against the MLAs. It was also said that the nominations should have been changed but most of the MLAs have been retained…
Our government has done a good job. We are seeking votes on the good work that we have been able to ensure. The government has delivered beyond the expectations of the people. We expect people to vote for us solely on our performance.
The rift between Sachin Pilot and you has done several rounds. What’s his role in the elections?
He is a senior Congress leader; he is a CWC member and he is the former Rajasthan Congress chief. He is equally excited about bringing Congress to power. We are all working towards the common goal to ensure the party’s victory.
ED and Income Tax have been active in Rajasthan for some time. Your party’s state chief Govind Dotasara and many ministers have raided. Your son Vaibhav has also been questioned in a FEMA case…
They have ED, CBI, IT… but I have the guarantees, not one but 7. The Congress’ guarantees are going to resonate more with the people.