The citizenship bill is an all-India bill and it is a misconception that it will have adverse impact in the Northeast, said Madhav.
Ram Madhav, the BJP’s national general secretary and in-charge for the Northeast, told Bikash Singh that the party will build larger consensus among allies and different groups before proceeding ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) bill. He said the BJP expects to win at least 20 out 25 seats in the Northeast along with its allies and retain the three Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir last time. Edited excerpts:
How do you look at the BJP’s prospects in the Northeast?
BJP is expecting excellent results. We are contesting 10 seats in Assam and two each in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya. In rest of the seats, our partners in the platform of non-Congress parties, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), are contesting. Together with allies, we will win not less than 20 (out of 25) seats.
In some seats, the BJP is contesting against NEDA allies. Does that mean the allies are not together?
NEDA is a development platform and not an electoral alliance like NDA. NEDA is a platform of non-Congress parties. In some seats our allies are contesting against us, as in Tripura. In Nagaland, we are supporting our ally, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
The Northeast has witnessed raging protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Do you think this will impact the BJP’s prospects?
The protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill were largely due to misrepresentation of facts by our political opponents which led to misinformation. The citizenship bill is an all-India bill and it is a misconception that it will have adverse impact in the Northeast. We are committed to securing the interests of different groups of Northeast India. We will build a large consensus, taking allies and all groups together, before we proceed with the bill.
Has infiltration come down?
Infiltration has been an issue; we took action on it. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being readied in Assam. Once the NRC is ready, we will implement the same.
What are the BJP’s electoral prospects in Jammu & Kashmir?
We are confident that we will retain the two seats in Jammu and one in Ladakh. In the (Kashmir) Valley, we have put up good candidates. Due to the good work done in the last three years by the government and initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people will support us.
The BJP has focused on Northeast.PM visited the region 30 times…
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clear that the region had been neglected for long. The tragedy is that (Modi’s predecessor) Manmohan Singh was PM for 10 years and Rajya Sabha member from Assam, but he hardly visited the region. Invesment in infrastructure and economic summits has seen investments flowing. In Assam alone, after the summit investment of over Rs 50,000 crore came.
The opposition often attacks the BJP of being anti-minority. How would you respond to this?
We are in power in six states (in the Northeast) and in one state, Mizoram, our ally Mizo National Front (MNF) is ruling. We are part of the government in Nagaland, which has the highest concentration of Christian population (in India). Similarly, we are in government in Arunachal, which has sizable population of Buddhists, Christians and Animist. The BJP is ruling Tripura, where there is a large number of tribals. Our core ideology encompasses 130 crore people and we believe in
Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas