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Mudda discusses Modi’s visit to Jaipur, marking the start of the party’s state election campaign, panel also discusses holding of simultaneous elections

Months before Rajasthan elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gone to Jaipur and launched 13 projects. He will also address a large rally of supporters. Is his Jaipur visit the start of BJP’s election campaign in Rajasthan?

Saturday’s edition of Mudda discussed this and other issues with BJP spokesperson Bhaskar Ghosh, JD(U) leader Syed Afzal Abbas, Congress spokesperson Sangeeta Garg, SP leader Pradeep Singh and senior journalist Govind Pant Raju. The talk was anchored by Anant Tyagi.

Ghosh said the BJP has many star campaigns. But the PM is responsible for the 152 projects his government has launched. The BJP is not afraid of the rise of Sachin Pilot. But the PM’s rally has borne fruit in Karnataka where BJP emerged as the single largest party as well as in Gujarat. Also, it has been seen at many instances like MP and Chhattisgarh that the anti-incumbency factor does not always take effect.

But Raju said the circumstances are different in Rajasthan from those in Gujarat or Karnataka. The party is riddled with infighting, especially from the Ghanshyam Tiwari faction. Modi also has to quell discontent against the Vasundhara Raje government. The situation here is much more challenging.

Ghosh admitted that there was a difference of opinion over the change in state president of the party.

The discussion moved to the matter of holding simultaneous elections.

Singh said it was difficult to hold simultaneous elections in a country as large and diverse as ours. He mentioned that for the first few years of the existence of independent India, simultaneous elections had been conducted and it won’t be a first if it done again. He also felt that people are more interested in gram panchayat elections than zilla parishad or even state elections and holding these polls together might lead to confusion among people with regard to symbols and wrong results.

Citing the Unnao rape and recent deaths due to rains, Singh added that the BJP government has failed the people. He added that the Akhilesh Singh Yadav government has built the Agra-Lucknow expressway in the time that the current dispensation was unable to even procure a bid for a project.

Abbas insisted that the JD(U) is the big brother in Bihar holding 70 seats to BJP’s 52 and that the party would like to contest the maximum number of seats there compared to BJP. But Ghosh was not prepared to accept that the JD(U) was indeed big brother.

Garg held that the BJP would lose in Rajasthan not because of anti-incumbency but because of non-performance of the ruling party.  She cited tax-free medicine scheme, khadi suraksha and pension scheme of the Congress government as the good work done by it on the basis of which it would return to power in the state. The BJP government has only three more months to perform and win over the electorate, she said.

—Compiled by Sucheta Dasgupta

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