BJP will win this Lok Sabha election on pro-incumbency sentiment: Ashish Sood
In an exclusive interview with Abhinay Lakshman of the Millennium Post, BJP's South Delhi Lok Sabha in-charge Ashish Sood said that the saffron party will win this election on a pro-incumbency sentiment that runs deep within the country.
How is this year's campaign going to be different from the one BJP ran in 2014?
You see, last time we did not have the achievements of Narendra Modi. So, as a result, this time around we have a huge base of beneficiaries who have reaped the advantages of various government schemes introduced in the last five years. This sentiment is very strong among people, so this will be our poll plank for MPs and party activists. We now have a class of voters to whom we need not showcase what we will do. They are already satisfied with our government's work.
Do you really believe there is no anti-incumbency sentiment running through the country?
Look, the pro-incumbency runs deep this time around. And the reason anti-incumbency has been a feature in every other election is there used to be an opposition that was after the blood of the incumbent government on a list of corruption issues. This time, with this government, you don't have that in hand. The opposition only has fake issues. Five years down the line, what they are charging us with is: this is a dictatorial government. They are presenting themselves as saviours of democracy. If we have not done the work in the last five years, then the opposition must come out with the issues instead of misleading voters.
Will your campaign then only focus on the work your government has done?
In Delhi, what our MPs have done, what the Central Government has done, and it could have done will be showcased. As a result, it will also be important to show the inability of the incumbent Delhi government to deliver on what they promised their electorate. For example, we could have and we wanted to give Ayushman Bharat to the poor of Delhi. It was denied. These will be the issues. The Delhi government made promises they knew they couldn't keep, and hence they are now raising issues such as the demand for full statehood in the Capital.
BJP had also made demands on statehood. What do you think made the party switch its stand?
We have not switched our stand on it. Look the statehood issue was addressed in 1991 when Delhi became a National Capital Territory and a resolution was adopted. No doubt we were asking for more powers for the state but parties always can change their stand. And moreover, no one else except the present AAP govt is responsible for harming the cause for full statehood when they tried to stop Republic Day celebrations. Do you believe that any parliament will grant full statehood if these kinds of scenarios are created? You see, we still want more powers to be granted to the state government. In terms of grievance redressal of people, the multiplicity of governance should be changed. But more importantly, some kind of uniformity in the system of governance is required. The basic idea is to solve governance issues created by the complicated system in Delhi and not fixate on wanting autonomy.
What are the challenges in campaigning this time?
The biggest thing we would want to implement is door-to-door campaigning (like mera parivaar, bhajpa parivaar). And reaching out to more of the electorate who at the time of anti-corruption agitation of Anna Hazare had stood by Kejriwal. More and more of those households have to be reached so that the present AAP government is exposed.
As South Delhi in-charge, what are your plans for the campaign in the constituency?
There is only one plan. The plan is to reach out to the beneficiaries, reach out to workers and make sure they vote at the earliest on the voting day. See, what we are going with in this election will be to highlight the failure of AAP to deliver even after getting 67 seats in the assembly. The only points will be about the 500 schools, the CCTV cameras, and the jobs that were promised. We won't let them go scot-free for their failures on these issues.
Do you think the proposed alliance may affect the way you run your campaign?
You see, we are not worried about that. Regardless of whether it actually happens or not, it won't change the fact that the opposition has failed to deliver. And even if it does come through, it just goes to show the hypocrisy of opposition members. A gentleman who had once vowed to fight corruption in Sheila Dikshit's government is now ready to ally with her. BJP govt in the Centre and we in Delhi are wanting to contest the election on the achievements of our central government. Is AAP contesting on their achievements of the last four and half years? All they have to show for themselves is their failures and then they go as far as blaming it on the absence of full statehood.