BJP is facing pro-incumbency, says Anil Baluni

Our constituency has five districts and 14 assembly segments. We want to link religious tourism with job generation.
BJP is facing pro-incumbency, says Anil Baluni

Toiling in the dust, heat, and cold of Garhwal, a picturesque Lok Sabha constituency spread over 1,000 sq km in Uttarakhand, BJP's national media head Anil Baluni is banking on "Modi's guarantee" and development to see him through the elections. Baluni is facing Ganesh Godiyal of the Congress in this vast constituency, which is home to some of the most revered Hindu religious sites, such as Badrinath and Kedarnath. Describing himself as a 'son of the soil' and not an outsider, he speaks with Kavita Bajeli-Datt amid his hectic campaigning about his vision for the constituency, stopping the severe problem of large-scale migration, maintaining a delicate balance between development and environment, the Uniform Civil Code, and how his government will not allow Uttarakhand, the land of Gods, to be the second state, after Assam, to witness demographical changes along religious lines.


What is your vision for your constituency?

Our constituency has five districts and 14 assembly segments. We want to link religious tourism with job generation. We have we have places like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Devprayag, Hemkunth Sahib, Valley of Flowers, Jim Corbett, Rajaji National Park and Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. My objective is to stop large-scale migration of people from hills. I have started an initiative called ‘Apna Vote, Apna Gaon’ (my vote, my village).

How is Uttarakhand aligned with ‘Viksit Bharat’?

Modi ji has said the coming decade belongs to Uttarakhand. We are working towards that. We plan to develop two or more tourist spots in each district. In two years, our train -- a new railway line from Rishikesh to Karnaparyag -- will be ready. It will be a game changer for the state and the people.

Uttarakhand is the first state to have passed the Uniform Civil Code. Will BJP plan to implement it nationally?

The UCC passed by the state Assembly is awaiting a legal review and analysis. We are holding a detailed discussion. Other states can also consider it. Let the debate take place. If there is a need, we’ll make changes.

There is discontent against Angiveer. Will this impact the party’s prospects?

We have worked on this. Rajnath Singhji has already made a clear statement. We are open to change in the Agniveer recruitment scheme if necessary. He had said that the government has ensured that the future of the Agniveers is secure. Home Minister Amit Shah has also announced a 10% reservation for former Agniveers in vacancies in the Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), and para-military forces.

Rahul Gandhi has accused your party of indulging in large-scale corruption through electoral bonds…

We should not take Rahul Gandhi’s statement seriously. Electoral bonds were started with a good motive to reduce the influence of black money in politics. If they have any suggestions, we can also look into them.

Do you plan to reform Muslim Personal laws?

Congress has always believed in appeasement policy. We have never made the distinction between Hindus and Muslims. Another Congress leader said a Muslim University should be set up in Uttarakhand. They have made these statements and distinctions. We have vowed that in this ‘dev bhumi’ (lands of the Gods) where we have Char-Dham, we won’t allow any demographic changes. Congress wants to make demographic changes. Congress wants to change the face of this state. If we see the 2011 census, then after Assam, Uttarakhand is the second state where we have seen demographical changes. We will not allow the state to be changed like this.

Will the anti-incumbency factor will have an impact on the 2024 elections?

No. We are seeing pro-incumbency. People have full faith in Modi ji.

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