National

Modi not behaving like a statesman, says Congress minister

AM Jigeesh | Updated on May 07, 2014

RATANJIT PRATAP NARAIN SINGH

‘BJP leader is abusing the Gandhis like a small politician at a street corner meeting’

Minister of State for Home Affairs Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh is visibly under pressure. The reason is a tough four-cornered fight he is engaged in at Kushinagar, his constituency and hometown in Uttar Pradesh.

Singh’s first Lok Sabha victory in 2009 was the result of 15 years of time and energy he had spent in the area as an MLA and as a Congressman. He believes the work he has put in for the past five years will surely give him a second chance.

Khan spoke to AM Jigeesh on the politics of this election.

It looks like the Congress is heading for a massive defeat in Uttar Pradesh. Only the BSP and SP seem to be fighting the BJP on the ground…

I don’t agree with that. Last time also we did badly in the Assembly elections, but did extremely well in the Lok Sabha elections.

I think people have started voting differently for the Assembly and Parliament elections.

There has been a definite change in the pattern of voting in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

In the General elections, people are looking up to national parties and for the Assembly elections they are going with State-level parties.

But the entire focus on Narendra Modi seems to have unsettled your campaign plans. He is coming to Kushinagar to campaign against you. Do you see this Modi wave having an impact?

I can see the Modi wave in television channels and newspapers.

This is the first election where we see people fight the battle on televisions and newspapers like in America.

Modi is running his campaign on TV and radio and that’s something that builds the wave. On the ground there is no reality of that kind of a wave. It is just that constant hounding by the televisions and newspapers about the centre figure being Modi and that is creating a sort of hype.

But the Congress too has focused its campaign on Modi. You are raising a number of questions on his leadership.

He is not answering any questions related to development of the country. He keeps pointing fingers at the Gandhi family. He is not doing anything different from the other Opposition leaders. He is doing what a small leader of the BJP does in corner meetings — abuse the Gandhis.

It is extremely unfortunate that a person who claims to be in running to be the PM of this country, instead of behaving like a statesman, is behaving like a small leader. This is extremely worrying for the country and the society.

If both the BJP and the Congress do not get majority, will your party support any other alliance at the Centre?

I really won’t be able to give my view point. It’s a hypothetical question and the decision will be taken at a much higher level than mine. But I can tell you one thing — whatever little gain the BJP may make in UP is because of the mis-governance of the SP Government. The BJP is trying to cash in on this and trying to give their campaign a communal colour. How successful they will be, only time will tell

You are looking for a second term in Kushinagar. What have you promised the voters?

I have tried my best to have some big infrastructural development in my constituency.

That is something that has impacted the constituency because in the last 25 years it did not seem to have rail lines, national highways and much development. Now, we have good roads, rail network.

We did not have any Kendriya Vidyalayas. We now have one and are trying to get good quality schools in the private sector too. People have options now.

Electricity was a big problem. I got ₹272 crore for electrifying villages. LPG connections were another worry. We got 2.5 lakh new connections. Supply of gas has improved. I managed to get a bottling plant. A new airport is coming up in Kushinagar. This will encourage domestic and international tourism and pilgrimage.

My basic work was to try and increase the inflow of people and money into my constituency which will actually lead to development.

Published on May 07, 2014

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