BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is on the cusp of finalising a BJP-PDP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. He speaks to ET on J&K, and the aftermath of the Delhi polls.
How soon can we expect an announcement on a coalition government in J&K?
We are actively discussing the contours of a common minimum programme with the People’s Democratic Party. I can’t give any deadlines, but it will be a BJP-PDP government sooner rather than later.
What about Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s statement on Delhi polls?
There is no reason for me to believe that the Delhi polls have had any effect on the process of government formation in J&K.
What are the sticking points in finalising the CMP?
There are not many, and they are not insurmountable. AFSPA and talks with Pakistan are a couple among several, but we are very close to clinching a deal.
Why do you think BJP fared badly in Delhi?
We have to take stock. On the face of it looks like in a straight contest, a 20% point difference in voting percentages will lead to complete decimation. The number of votes we got remained more or less steady but our conversion rates were very low.
Is there any truth in reports that RSS did not work enough because it thinks the government has a pro-rich image?
As an RSS man I can tell you that the organisation takes a limited role in elections, generally restricted to educating voters on their democratic rights and getting them out to vote. Only under extraordinary circumstances, like in 1977, does it involve itself fully. I’m assuming they must have done it this time round too. As for the perception that the government is seen as pro-rich it is completely wrong. The number of welfare programmes likeJan Dhan Yojana or Swachch Bharat is for the poor. And if you insist there is a perception like that, it should be corrected. It’s unfair to say that this government is only for industrialists.
What about the allegation that the cadre was alienated and the local unit was not included in the campaign?
In each election the party adopts a particular strategy, success has many fathers, failure has many critics. No party will fight elections to lose. It was a combination of factors. AAP seems to have occupied the
Left of Centre space, with BJP on the Right… Is this the new axis?
I don’t go by labels like Right wing or Left. Some Sangh Parivar affiliates have a very Left of centre economic programme, and on different issues have different stances. So these labels are redundant. The AAP has won one state election. I hope and wish that Mr Kejriwal’s government manages to deliver. For the rest, let us see.