The NDA will cross 400 seats when the results of the current general elections come out, said Union Minister for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma in a tete-a-tete with Express Special Correspondent Arun Lakshman.
Q: Two phases of the general elections are over. What are your expectations?
A: We will be winning more than 400 seats. I mean to say the NDA. The BJP had 280 seats and the NDA 335 seats in the last general elections and there will be an increase in the number of seats for both the BJP and the NDA together. I have travelled across the country and the people in even remote villages are expecting a huge victory for Narendra Modi and the NDA and I feel this is the pulse of the country.
Q: What makes you feel there will be such a huge victory for an incumbent government?
A: This is a government which has implemented and executed its promises. You can see the people of the country are rejoicing at the execution of several projects which we have announced, including the social schemes for farmers, women, children and youth.
The skill development programme and the Mudra loan programme have given immense mileage to the government among the people of the country and they are waiting for an opportunity to thank Modi and in the elections they will vote for the BJP and the NDA coalition partners for a major victory to ensure Modi returns with an added majority.
Q: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has blasted the BJP Government at the Centre for the failure in demonetisation and GST. Your comments on the same?
A: The Congress president is in a situation wherein he does not have any inkling on what is happening around him. Demonetisation was a bold step taken by this government to flush out black money as well as to put an end to the counterfeit currency menace.
It may be noted that Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister wanted to demonetise but she did not have the guts to do so and hence Modi can take pride in that he forcefully and boldly went for the demonetisation in the country benefiting millions of ordinary people. Regarding GST, Rahul was supportive of it in Parliament and said it was the Congress baby which the party had wished to do and now he is going across the country against this. This is duplicity and as I said earlier the Congress and Rahul are moving directionless.
Q: What are your expectations from Kerala?
A: In Kerala, we will put up a great show this time and several of our candidates will win the elections. I have seen the election campaign here and as a person who is in politics and social life for the past 40 years, I am sure the Kerala unit of the BJP and the NDA has done extremely well to increase the campaign for the party and NDA candidates.
Our reports indicate the party will win several seats. I’m a medical doctor and I have a large extended family through my hospitals and around 1,200 Keralite nurses and doctors are working in our hospitals. I am getting feedback from these people and their families which indicate the BJP and NDA are winning seats from Kerala this time.
Q: Any specific election strategy?
A: How can one reveal the election strategy? One thing I can say for sure, we don’t have any appeasement politics nor estrangement. We believe in politics of inclusion and not of exclusion which the people of the state and country have accepted. The stress is on the development of the people in all counts and for that a repeat or rather continuation of the present government is important at the Centre and the intelligent and brilliant people of the state and country will vote for the BJP and Modi.