Senior BJP leader Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is serving as Uttar Pradesh’s deputy chief minister for the second consecutive time, said the Bharatiya Janata Party is going to create history in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls by bagging all 80 seats in UP and more than 400 seats in the country.
“Uttar Pradesh ne thana hai…Assi ke Assi kamal khilana hai. (It’s a pledge of BJP to win all the 80 parliamentary seats in UP),” the deputy chief minister — who holds the portfolio of rural development, overall village development, rural engineering and food processing — said during an exclusive interview with CNN-News18.
Discussing burning issues such as the Prayagraj killing and caste census among others at length, the deputy chief minister assured the strictest punishment for accused in key witness Umesh Pal’s murder and termed the Samajwadi Party as ‘mafia sympathisers’.
BJP is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the party’s victory in the 14 Lok Sabha seats that it had lost in the 2019 polls. It has already started the review process and launched a pre-poll campaign called Lok Sabha Pravas Yojna as a part of its mission 2024. What is your analysis of the upcoming 2024 elections?
Uttar Pradesh saw the biggest tie-up in 2019 when Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Congress formed a grand alliance (Mahagathbandhan) against BJP’s Narendra Modi. However, it failed to make any difference as Prime Minister Narendra Modi bagged a total of 51.9 per cent vote share and won 62 of 80 seats in UP. Similarly, in 2024, nothing can change the situation as BJP is going to create history by winning all 80 seats in UP and more than 400 seats in the country, electing Modi as prime minister for the third consecutive time.
On February 24, Umesh Pal, who was a key witness in Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Raju Pal’s murder case of 2005, along with his two gunners was murdered in front of his house in Dhumanganj area of Prayagraj. The Opposition raised a question mark on the police investigation and said the key accused are still at large.
Umesh Pal’s murder is a matter to worry about. Not only Umesh Pal, we also lost two gunners in the attack in which mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed, his wife, sons and others are accused. The matter is being investigated, police are working round-the-clock on every possible lead. Arrests will be made soon. I assure of the strictest punishment against the perpetrators in the broad daylight killing.
The Opposition has blamed BJP for misusing the ‘bulldozer policy’ which it introduced to tame mafia and keep a check on the law and order situation. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav recently said on the issue of the Prayagraj killing that the country should run according to the Constitution and not through bulldozers. What do you say to this?
The Samajwadi Party, its leaders and the entire ‘Saifai Pariwar’ are mafia sympathisers. This is why Akhilesh Yadav, senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav and others feel the pain if action is initiated against the mafia. They should also feel the pain of the brutal killing of Umesh Pal and his two gunners. ‘SP ka dard kewal mafia aur gundo ke prati hai’ (SP is only concerned about mafia and hooligans).
Akhilesh Yadav called the Umesh Pal murder the failure of UP government on the law and order front. He said despite being in power for six years, it failed to break the nexus of mafia who are still operating from jail.
Nobody is perfect. Indeed it’s a big challenge for UP Police to break the nexus which SP has nurtured during its regime. I must say that we are halfway through. We have cleared 75 per cent of the nexus while 25 per cent is still left and will be cleared in the remaining four years of our regime.
Recently, SP accused BJP of turning a blind eye to the rising social and economic disparity in UP and demanded a caste census. You were initially heard supporting the Opposition but later backed out, calling SP’s stand a cheap publicity stunt.
I was never in favour of caste census. SP is making an issue out of nothing. I want to ask the SP government why they did not think of carrying out the caste census when they were in power. I asked the SP chief how it will benefit the backwards but he failed to give a convincing reply. Had Akhilesh Yadav been so concerned about the rights of the backwards, he would have appointed somebody like me in a key position in his government. If he is so concerned about people from backward class and most backward class, can he resign from the post of SP’s national president to appoint any of them. No, he can only do petty politics.
The BJP government has claimed the Global Investor Summit (GIS) was a big hit and is now planning to launch a ground-breaking ceremony to make the proposed investment and projects a reality. What efforts are being made?
When we first came to power in 2017, we started working as per the Gujarat Model and replicated the same in UP under the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. GIS was a part of the same model, which was a big success. We received over 33 lakh crore investment proposals. We have formed a special committee that is reviewing the proposals and coordinating with investors in order to make these projects a reality.
You hold an important portfolio of rural development, overall village development, rural engineering and food processing. What efforts are being made to boost the rural infrastructure and bring development to the rural pockets of UP?
UP is the largest state where the majority of the population comes from villages. Hence, our main focus is on the villages this time. We are currently working on introducing basic amenities, including proper pucca roads, electricity connections, LPG gas connections, health facilities, employment, construction of toilets, allocation of accommodations and others. Other than ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makaan’, we are focusing on all-round development of rural UP. Gram ke vikas ke bina, na pradesh ka vikaas aur na hi desh ka. (Neither state nor country can progress without the development of rural areas).
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