Muzaffarnagar: In 2016, nearly two and a half years after the Muzaffarnagar riots, when bypoll was held in this constituency following the death of the then sitting SP MLA Chitranjan Swaroop, the BJP won the seat battling a sympathy wave in favour of the leader's son. Many analysts had then said the saffron party was able to exploit the communal faultlines through its campaign which was led by riot-accused BJP leaders.
The BJP had deployed local MP and minister of state for agriculture in Modi government, Sanjeev Balyan, MP Hukum Singh and MLA Suresh Rana for campaigning in February-2016 bypoll, the first after the communal riots. They were all named as accused in cases related to the 2013 riots which left at least 60 dead and thousands displaced.
However, for the upcoming elections, the party seems to have adopted the much-publicised narrative of development. Western UP, where tension had prevailed during the 2014 Lok Sabha election too in the wake of riots, is calm and elections would be held peacefully with development being the major issue, Balyan told PTI.
He talked of how despite facing difficulties people have supported demonetisation in national interest. The BJP leader targeted the Akhilesh Yadav Government over alleged corruption and mining mafia.
He also said it was his party's strategy not to declare its chief ministerial face. "In the UPA government, it was said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is honest but the government is corrupt. Now Akhilesh Yadavji is also saying 'I am honest and removed one minister over allegations of corruption' but he reinstated him again after 15 days," Balyan said.
"Now who is accountable? If there is corruption by the state government, it's the chief minister who is accountable," he said. He alleged mining mafia "continues to operate" in the state "as it did" during the previous BSP dispensation. "If there is no corruption how can mafia continue to operate?" he asked. Balyan also claimed that the state government waived Rs 2000 crore that sugar mills owed to farmers. "It was money of the farmers and the government had no right to waive it. If there was no corruption, then what was the reason to waive the money the sugar mills owed?" Balyan asked attacking the rival Samajwadi Party.The BJP is locked in a three-corned electoral fight in the state with SP-Congress combine and BSP.
Balyan also refuted rival parties' attack on the decision to demonetise the high-value notes. While people faced difficulties they had faith that the step had been in national interest, he said. "And because of the feeling that the step was taken in the larger interest of the country, people stayed calm," he added. He attacked BSP leader Mayawati for allegedly appealing for votes in the name of caste and religion despite a Supreme Court declaring the practise as illegal. "I wonder why there is no action against her as she is seeking votes in the name of caste and religion," he said. Asked if the reservation demand by the jats in Haryana would have any impact on the community in Western Uttar Pradesh, where they are in sizeable number, he said, "BJP had given reservation to Jats in UP, Delhi and Rajasthan."
"If other governments wanted to give them reservation, then why was it not given in Haryana? Last time the quota the Centre gave to Jats was without the recommendation of National Commission of Backward Castes. Everybody knew that it would be quashed by the court but it was done only to gain political mileage," he said. On RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya's remark advocating a rethink over reservation, he said BJP has already clarified it is not against the policy of reservation. Asked if not declaring the chief ministerial candidate could cost his party as SP-Congress and BSP have declared theirs, Balyan said the party has won several elections in the past without declaring a CM candidate but lost in Delhi when it had declared one. He said not declaring a chief ministerial candidate in UP is party strategy.
Updated Date: Feb 04, 2017 17:59 PM