What have been your achievements in the previous two terms and what remains to be done?
The massive public response to our 6,000-km Vikas Yatra was because of the successful implementation of the government’s schemes, including food security, paddy bonus, tendu leaf bonus and footwear distribution. The Chhattisgarh Food Security Act helped the government reach out to 56 lakh families. 19 crore was distributed as bonus to 8 lakh farmers. We were also successful in ensuring growing participation of women in the municipalities and panchayats.
How is Chhattisgarh’s Food Security Act different from that of the Centre?
If the Centre really cared about the public, they would have taken this step long ago. We have been providing grains at cheap rates through the PDS since a long time. While the Centre promises to provide only 25 kg grains to each family, we provide 35 kg. We are also giving salt for free. We distribute free gram in the tribal regions and pulses in the plains. The state is spending Rs 1,600 crore to provide food to the people. This is real food security. The Centre’s scheme is flawed. The public won’t accept it.
Some of your MLAs are facing opposition in their constituencies. Is it because of anti-incumbency?
The people are satisfied with our government. There is no anti-incumbency factor. Those who are being opposed in their constituencies will be replaced.
Will the demise of Dilip Singh Judeo and Baliram Kashyap affect the party’s chances in the tribal regions?
No one can replace Kashyap and Judeo, who devoted their lives to establish the BJP in Bastar and Jashpur. But the model of organisation they set up in these areas will continue to work for a long time.
Your government was blamed for the 25 May Naxal attack in Darbha. Will there be a sympathy wave for the Congress as many of their leaders were killed in the attack?
It is wrong to politicise the Naxal attack. We admit there were security lapses. A judicial enquiry is underway. Accusing the BJP or the government of sponsoring the attack is unreasonable and can only vitiate the atmosphere. I don’t think it’s going to affect the BJP’s prospects in the Assembly polls.
Translated from TEHELKA Hindi by Naushin Rehman