Satish Poonia, the newly appointed BJP President of Rajasthan, is the first Jat leader in the state who has been given a task to lead the party when it is in opposition, and by-polls on two seats and civic and panchayat elections are approaching near. The leader has already served Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and has been party general secretary too. He is also the favourite of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Presently serving as Amer MLA, he knows about demographic, political and socio-economic challenges BJP faces in the state.
He speaks exclusively with IANS and said “Soon, BJP will be known as a party with social concerns besides having a political domain as we will work hand in hand with PM’s vision to make nation free from single-use plastic and Clean India movement besides other social issues too. A few excerpts of the interview.
Q. What shall be your priorities in Rajasthan after taking up the task of BJP state president?
Strengthening the party, making the workers disciplined and increasing the voteshare in next elections are a few of my priorities.
Further, going in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision who has also set-up social tasks besides having political outlook, we in Rajasthan shall also work to ensure BJP stands for social issues too.
Modi has recently given a mission to make the nation free from single-use plastic.
Earlier, we have been working for clean India. So now, we shall also work on his guidelines in a direction where BJP is not restricted as a political entity but is also considered as a party which looks into social aspects of the nation. So will work in a direction where BJP is known as a party having social concerns too.
Rajasthan BJP will form an agency with our workers which shall work in executing these social works.
Also I shall work in bringing discipline in party workers so that the party stands united and disciplined. Certain habits of our party workers need to be changed so that they are connected with masses so that voteshare of BJP increases.
Q. The BJP is in opposition. So how do you think you can make a difference in state?
In the last 10 months, we all have seen law and order deteriorating in the state under Congress rule. The party is busy playing the politics of appeasement and hence communal riots are also increasing in the state.
The differences between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot are taking its toll on the functioning of the bureaucracy.
Hence, we, as an opposition, will ensure that the present government takes right decision on right time and will make people aware of their work by raising the issues when required.
We will win people’s trust which has been breached with the way Congress is working as they gave their mandate to them trusting the leaders. However, all their expectations and trust are falling flat.
Q. You recently said that ‘had there been no RSS, there would have been no Hindustan’. In what context did you say that?
I stand by my statement. RSS came into being in 1925 when India was still a colony. The story of partition is remembered and read by all. Hence, RSS since its inception, started working to retain pristine glory of the nation. Our culture, our heritage, our legacy is being maintained because RSS was there. Had it not been there, there would have been mass conversions, the feeling of nationalism would not have been instilled among masses, our cultural legacy would have been threatened. Sangh workers worked hard to retain Hinduism in this country.
They shrugged off the theory of appeasement and took tribals, Dalits and people belonging to other classes along. They worked for the holistic development of the nation to ensure people in the country stand with pride. The message of ‘Apna Samaj, Apna Ghar, Apna watan’ was spread so that people feel pride of being nationalist.
Q. What are the challenges ahead?
We have panchayat and civic unit elections approaching and hence need to work on newer social engineering equations to walk on a winning track. Also, there are two by-polls coming in Khinvsar and Mandava. So party workers need to be rejuvenated, they need to be encouraged and motivated to work harder. We need to have a mass-connect to ensure we win the trust of the people.
Q. Your opinion on merger of Congress and BSP MLAs?
This is second stint of Gehlot as chief minister without a strong majority. I shall call it as a ‘jugaad ki sarkar’ which goes directionless without policy and ideology. As Congress has two power centres led by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, same is the case in Rajasthan where there are two power centres – one under Gehlot, another under Pilot.
Now, the midnight defection of BSP MLAs to Congress can be termed as fear and insecurity of Gehlot who was feeling threatened under Pilot’s aggression. Pilot has been questioning the government over deteriorating law and order situation.
Similarly, BSP should also introspect what kind of candidates it has. 10 years back also the same story was repeated when Gehlot was Chief Minister and six BSP MLAs had joined Congress. So BSP should also introspect as one of its MLAs recently accused the party of ‘selling’ tickets to candidates who give maximum money to party.
What shall be the role of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan? What we have been seeing is that people who did not go along with her have been elevated to bigger posts?
Vasundhara Raje is national vice president of the party and has been rendering her services at national level. The party shall definitely give her suitable role as and when the time comes. Remember Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was made the vice president of the country. Our party respects our leaders and knows when they should be given what position.
Vasundharaji called me and congratulated me on being given me the position of state BJP president. She is busy so she couldn’t come in person. However, a day before this announcement, we were together.