Interview with UP BJP leader: ‘Because of Narendra Modi, the focus is on nationalism, not casteism and appeasement of minorities…other parties are changing’

Under the leadership of Swatantra Dev Singh, the BJP of Uttar Pradesh scripted an election victory last month. Singh, who also holds the Jal Shakti and flood control portfolio in the state cabinet, was appointed to the post in July 2019 and is expected to step down. He says The Indian Express how, because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the discourse of other parties had shifted from “appeasement of Muslims” to nationalism, and looks back on his time as leader of the UP BJP.

In the new government, each ministry makes a presentation to the Cabinet on the objectives for the coming days. What are your department’s goals?

The decision of the chief minister (Yogi Adityanath) to hold daily presentations has the advantage that each minister gets a holistic picture of the state. Over the past five years, remarkable and significant work has been carried out from an economic and social point of view. All ministers inquire about each ministry. They clarify their ideas about what our government has done in five years and what remains to be done in the days to come. The objectives of my department are water storage, availability of water for farmers during all harvest seasons, and ensuring water up to the tail (of the canals) and filling of the ponds with the water. I have already developed a work plan for these objectives. The fourth target is nal aur swachh jal (drinking tap water) in every household by 2024. Progress in this direction is satisfactory and these tasks will be completed on time. The life of every officer, employee and minister of the department will be blessed when water is supplied to fields (for irrigation) and to individuals (for drinking). Timeframes of 100 days, six months, two years and five years have been set to achieve these goals.

A significant shift has taken place in the last five to seven years since Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) started leading the country. Prior to Modi, the focus was on casteism, appeasement of Muslims, corruption and nepotism, and anti-national forces were active. Since Modi took charge, discussions have centered on the welfare of the poor and nationalism. Now the talks are not about appeasement of Muslims but about nationalism and the strength of the nation. Therefore, all other parties are gradually transforming. The nation is growing under the leadership of Modi ji. People who support the ideologies of former communists and Kejriwal have received the message that the policy of appeasement of Muslims and abuse of Hindus should end. It is necessary to move forward with the spirit of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’ instead of casteism, regionalism and religion.

But issues of Muslim appeasement and nationalism were only dominant in the BJP during the recent Assembly election campaign.

People’s thinking has changed because of the new leadership (of Modi). Thoughts have also changed in Kashmir. Where is the terrorism and who is throwing stones at the army? In Kashmir, people are becoming self-sufficient and villages are growing. People have access to drinking water and houses. Now people have the spirit that the nation belongs to them and they have realized their responsibilities.

How do you see your mandate as President of the Republic?

Brought the party back to power, recorded an outstanding victory in the MLC polls and good results earlier in the partial Assembly polls. This happened thanks to the hard work of party workers on the ground. Now I am in a new role (a minister). Until I remain as state president, I will take care of the preparations for the polls of the urban local bodies.

During the summer, people usually face a drinking water crisis. After that, floods occur during the monsoon. How has your department prepared for these challenges?

All flood programs have been initiated. The bidding process and further work has begun. Some work will be completed by June 15 and other flood control projects will take shape. There are appropriate provisions to ensure that floods do not cause loss of life and crops. The ponds are filled for the animals.

Have you carried out a review of projects in the Bundelkhand region?

The progress of work there is satisfactory and the Prime Minister should inaugurate a running water installation in June-July in villages in seven districts of Bundelkhand and in the districts of Mirzapur and Sonbhadra in the Vindhya region. It is possible that the program with a deadline of 2024 will be completed in these nine important districts in early 2022.

Is there also such a timeline for the promises the BJP made in its Assembly election manifesto?

There are time limits of 100 days, six months, two years and five years (for different promises). We will fulfill all the promises of the ‘Patra of Sankalp (manifest)’ in time. We serve the poor. Timelines have been established for all tasks. The CM has set objectives for each department.

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