Q. Unlike the last election, the opposition is completely united this time. On the other hand, the Rashtriya Janata Dal seems to be riding a sympathy wave.
A. If there’s a wave in Bihar, it is the Narendra Modi wave and this second wave is stronger and more focused than that witnessed in 2014. It is like the Obama wave of 2012. In 2014, the voters in Bihar recognised Modi as the man behind the Gujarat model of development. In the past five years, they have seen that he is a strong prime minister. From curbing corruption to surgical strikes and from facilitating small businesses and providing benefits to the poor to leading India on the global platform-he has performed exceptionally well.
Q. But how can you dismiss the grand alliance? They have got their social combinations right.
A. In the Lok Sabha election, people elect their prime minister. They do not focus on parochial and caste-related issues. No voter will want to risk India’s future by letting the country be run by a ragtag coalition like that we have witnessed in the past. The voters are intelligent, they have rejected caste and are rooting for development, security and the nation’s honour. The NDA has also given adequate representation to all sections of society.
Q. The voters also have an option in Rahul Gandhi.
A. This Lok Sabha poll has completely marginalised the Congress. The RJD has given it only nine seats in Bihar. In Uttar Pradesh, the SP-BSP alliance has refused to join hands with it.
Q. What is working for you in Bihar?
A. Everything looks good for us. We have a decisive PM and a very competent chief minister. The Centre’s decision of 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker section in the general category, the air strikes and electrification of the entire state are steps that will benefit us. In 2014, we won 31 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats. This time, we will improve our tally.
Q. Do you see Lalu Prasad’s absence as a blessing in disguise for the NDA?
A. It is a misplaced assumption. Lalu was not convicted during the 2009 Lok Sabha poll. He campaigned for his party, yet the BJP-JD(U) alliance won 32 seats. Lalu was out on bail during the last Lok Sabha election and tried to polarise the voters on caste and communal lines. Still, the BJP-led NDA won 31 seats. Lalu Prasad’s absence is inconsequential.