“You can’t expect the Modi government to act on the same lines as the Manmohan government. It is a different government, it has a different approach. But to describe it as muscular is wrong,” Ram Madhav said.
What is the BJP’s Kashmir plan? What are your electoral expectations here?
We are fighting these elections on our own. Our efforts certainly will be to try and pick up seats in the valley also. We are hoping to do our best. We are not just hoping, we are sure that our tally, in terms of votes will certainly go up in the valley.
The reason is that we have consistently stood for the people here, we have contested in all the elections. We have established a connection with the ordinary citizens even in the remote villages. We have more than 100 sarpanches and quite a good number of municipal councillors, even in the corporations we have corporations. So we have established a connect with the masses so we are hoping to get good number of votes.
How do you evaluate the BJP’s current position in the state?
We are also a mainstream party in the valley now. We are no longer an outsider. The very fact that we have so many sarpanches and councillors and other elected members, this shows that we are also a mainstream party here.
Why is there a difference in your stance for Parliamentary and Assembly elections? How is the situation conducive for one and not for the other?
I don’t think there is any such distinction in the minds of the Election Commission or the central government. It’s only about the availability of security forces for a much bigger election like Assembly. We have been asking EC to hold Assembly Elections as soon as possible, and we are hoping that elections for Assembly will also be held soon.
This year. I totally agree, when the atmosphere is conducive for holding panchayat elections, municipal and now parliament elections. Availability of security forces could be one concern, that’s what I gather.
Is Sajad Lone still an ally?
This is an election for the Parliament. Right now we are fighting it alone. If we pick up seats, we’ll be happy. Otherwise, if Sajad picks up seats here and NC picks up seats here, it is for them to think whether to support Modi ji or not. Anyway, one thing is sure, that it issuing to be a BJP government led by Modi ji at the Centre again. That much is sure. Even in the Assembly elections, right now the thinking of our party is that we will go it alone and fight on our own and try to pick up a few seats in the valley also. That is our thinking and our strategy.
Do you think this muscular policy in Jammu and Kashmir has worked?
I don’t agree with the description that this is a muscular policy. It is certainly a different kind of approach, undoubtedly, and we are a different government. You can’t expect the Modi government to act on the same lines as the Manmohan government. It is a different government, it has a different approach. But to describe it as muscular is wrong.
Our policy is concerned with the development of the state, all the three regions. That’s why Modi ji has given a big package to the state. Lot of developmental activity has taken place and is going on. Dal lake is being developed, all that is happening.
Yes, as far as terrorism is concerned, we have a zero tolerance approach, which is good for Kashmir also. It is in the interest of the people of Kashmir, in the interest of the country that we are tackling terror in a different way. Exclusively, if you talk about terrorism and you call our approach as muscular, I don’t object to it. But our approach to the entire state is very very humanitarian, very developmental focussed. We are concerned about the life of the ordinary Kashmiri.
Is that what you are going to go to the electorate with?