Rajya Sabha MP and former Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari is active in national politics, but is also one of the prominent figures in Uttarakhand assembly elections. As the chief of election campaign committee of BJP for the state election, he has played a crucial role in ticket distribution process. In an exclusive interview to Dainik Jagran, Koshiyri talked about the BJP’s poll strategy and internal discord within the party.

Q Why is BJP contesting state assembly election under the leadership of Chief Minister BC Khanduri?
A: Khanduri is heading the government in the state. Certain crucial decisions like- Lokayukta Bill, Citizen Charter and other acts- have been taken under his leadership.  He has launched a drive to eradicate corruption from the state. This has generated a hope among masses. He happens to be a seasoned politician who has worked at both the central and state levels.

Q.  Instead of allowing the newly elected MLAs after the elections to decide the name of their leader, why has the party leadership imposed its decision prior to the election by declaring the name of Khanduri?
A: There are two things, if the leader has already been declared a clear direction will be decided. In the post poll scenario if the party high command impose a particular person as the leader of assembly house it, the decisions will be taken in the meeting of newly elected MLA.

Q. Certain people in the party have made allegations against you for your decision at time of ticket distribution?
A: All those who have been denied tickets will naturally raise questions on our decision. They will accuse the person who will appear them a soft target. One will do nothing in this regard but to accept the allegations.

Q: What are the reasons behind your impulsive friendship with your new-found-friend Khanduri?
A: Actually there was no rift between us, but we weren’t so close either. His age and his experience in the politics have always benefited us in charting out strategies for the election. All of us in the party have great respect for him. Whenever any differences crop up between the two of us on the ground of ideology, Khanduri has a habit of expressing his views without any kind of manipulation.

Q Is there any deal between Khanduri and you?
A: I don’t belief in making deals as such.

Q Why is your party banking upon senior politicians for winning the election… why the youths are being overlooked?
A: In fact, the party has given chances to youths. There is no problem in handing over the levers of power to them. The party selects people for certain responsibilities on the basis of their abilities to do good for the people of the state.

Q: Opposition parties have accused you of playing cast-card in the state politics. Is it true?
A: Do they have any evidence to prove their allegations? They are blowing baseless allegations against me.

Q Congress is accusing you of taking bribes? Your reaction!
A: Congress party is issueless. They are accusing us unnecessarily. Actually Congress has been involved in the acts of corruption wherever they are voted to power.

Q  Your government in Uttarakhand remained in power for whole last five years.  Why is it mainly focusing on its achievements during last three months instead of its whole tenure?
A:  We have been working consistently for the development of the state. Our government in the state has launched many welfare schemes for the people of the state like- 108 mobile health centers, Gauri Devi Kanya Dhan Yojna and many others. Moreover, several initiatives have also been taken for the development of the state during former Chief Minister Ramesh Nishank Pokhriyal’s tenure. Undoubtedly, we have been successful in curbing acts of corruption in the state.