Q. The 2014 Lok Sabha and assembly election results were attributed to the Modi wave. What are you banking on this time?
A. Both Narendra Modi and the work done by our government. PM Modi has shown he is capable of delivering. People instantly compare his work with that of the previous Congress regimes. India’s position in the world today is all thanks to Modi.
Q. But the past five years saw a sharp rise in polarisation.
A. There is no polarisation along religious lines. It is about whether or not one is a nationalist. It was there during the Jan Sangh days too and will now become sharper.
Q. Muslims generally don’t go with the BJP.
A. Muslims will have to become nationalistic. When they become nationalistic, they will stand with us and with this country. Till they say ‘we are Muslims first and then Indians’, they can never come with us (Indians). I am a nationalist and will sacrifice my life for the country. How or what I worship is my private affair.
Q. How has your campaign strategy changed from 2014?
A. It’s natural for more people to be invested in you when you are in government. It is now up to us to strategise to keep them invested in our policies and ideology. We are micromanaging this election to connect with every voter. Some 175,000 panna pramukhs (vote influencers) have been appointed, each responsible for 60 voters.
Q. There is growing agrarian distress. Questions are being raised about non-implementation of the Swaminathan panel report.
A. MS Swaminathan made nearly 30 recommendations. Among them, we have issued thousands of soil health cards and implemented the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, which was hanging fire for 35 years. Haryana’s farmers are getting Rs 25,000 per acre for crop damage. We have established the best agri marketing set-up in the country and rolled out the Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana to compensate cultivators in instances where market rates fall below the cost of production. The PM announced remunerative pricing (50 per cent over the cost of production) for 17 crops. We are aiming for more than the Swaminathan [Commission’s] recommendations.
Q. You instituted the SN Dhingra Commission against Robert Vadra’s alleged dubious land deals and registered cases against former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. But there has been no action since.
A. Nailing Vadra or Hooda was never the priority. We collected and handed over the evidence to the investigation agencies. The Congress stalled progress on Justice Dhingra’s recommendations by challenging the procedures adopted for constituting the panel. But the Supreme Court-ordered CBI probe is under way.
Q. Your government has been accused of letting the Jat agitation and the Dera Sacha Sauda violence get out of hand.
A. We controlled the 2016 Jat agitation in less than three days. In the case of the Dera [Sacha Sauda] chief, we produced him in Panchkula as ordered by the court. Badi samasyaon ko taalne ke liye chhote chhote nuksaan hua karte hain (Minor jolts have to be suffered while staving off big problems).
Q. Many see your recent successes in the corporation elections and the Jind bypoll a consequence of the division in the Jat vote.
A. Why should anyone vote on caste lines? The real issues are development and transparency. We have to rise above casteism to serve the nation’s interest.
Q. What is your prediction on the Lok Sabha results?
A. We won seven of the eight seats we contested in Haryana last time. We lost Rohtak. This time, I am confident the BJP will win Rohtak too. Despite caste considerations, we are comfortably placed in all the 10 constituencies. Nationally, the NDA tally will be close to 350.