Modi@2: Assam multiplied the happiness, says BJP chief Amit Shah
On 16 May 2014, Narendra Modi was elected with a resounding majority to the Lok Sabha. And on 26 May 2014, he was sworn in as India's Prime Minister.
Now, exactly two years later, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is in celebration mode.
On the eve of the government's second anniversary, at the banquet hall of New Delhi's Ashoka Hotel, senior office-bearers and cabinet minister of the BJP met some correspondents from across the country to discuss the last couple of years.
Here are excerpts of Rajasthan Patrika's conversation with the BJP's national president Amit Shah on the occasion.
How do you visualise the future of the BJP?
The results from the east and south clearly show that BJP's policies and programmes are finding acceptance across the country. It was my childhood dream, and the dream of our workers all over the country, that we form a government in the east.
The victory in Assam is the victory of the BJP's ideology. Now, we have determined the focus of the Central government - that BJP increases its reach to every corner of the country.
You have won only in Assam, and lost in four states. Why is there so much euphoria over this lone victory?
The workers are happy about the performance of the party. In Kerala, the performance has been laudable. We have bagged about 15% of the votes. This is a big achievement. How much the party has won is not a big thing. The important thing is that people have accepted the party.
In 2019, who will be in the Opposition?
We are here to stay. Let the other parties decide over chai-nashta who should be the Opposition. The Congress is continuously shrinking.
Will the Gujarat CM be changed?
This is just media speculation. At the level of the party, this has never been the thought.
Will the AAP be a challenge in the Punjab Assembly elections in 2017?
I have not gone to Punjab yet, so it would be a little premature to comment. But yes, it is certain that Punjab is not Delhi.
What possibilities do you see in Uttar Pradesh?
There is no doubt that the BJP will get absolute majority in UP. There are 73 MPs of the party. Administrative corruption and law-and-order will be big issues. The entire state is looking towards the BJP with eyes full of hope.
Who do you consider your competitor in UP?
The Samajwadi Party is our competitor in UP. The BJP is in a direct fight with it.
You do not think the BSP is your competitor?
We consider the SP as our competitor. There lies the answer to your query.
Will the Nitish Kumar factor work?
If the Nitish factor works, it will be to the benefit of the BJP.
What do you consider special about your party?
We do not run away from problems. Efficient and transparent administration is our hallmark. No one from among the disadvantaged classes escapes our attention.
What is the future of the NDA?
The NDA continues to grow bigger. Now, the Northeast Democratic Front has been established. The NDA is on an expanding spree.
What are the implications of your slogan for a 'Congress-mukt' Bharat?
Our 'Congress-mukt' slogan is being misunderstood. Our implication is very clear - we want to free the country from crime, corruption and misrule prevalent during the Congress's rule.
What is the opinion of the party regarding the proposed Ram Mandir in Ayodhya?
The construction of the Ram Mandir is included in our manifesto. It is clear that the construction will take place, by unanimous agreement or by judgement of the court.
What solution does the BJP have for the Kashmir issue?
Kashmir as a problem is one of its kind. Finding the solution to it is our priority. Our efforts are persistent.
Does the party agree with what Subramanian Swamy has to say?
What he says is his personal opinion. It is neither the opinion of the party nor the party line. The party line is what I say.
What has the BJP learnt from the Bihar defeat?
This is not a subject to be made public. The party is happy with the recent elections in five states. There is enthusiasm in the party with its performance, particularly in Kerala.