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I am a fan of Narendra Modi but if I don’t like something I will say no to the party: Uma Bharati

"I don’t know why my party is doing this (projecting me prominently). Even in my distant thought I do not imagine myself being a leader in UP."

Updated: Feb 20, 2017, 11.37 AM IST
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"No, I am not a disciplined soldier of the party. I am a disciplined soldier of people’s cause and Ganga."
"No, I am not a disciplined soldier of the party. I am a disciplined soldier of people’s cause and Ganga."
In a candid interview to ET, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti spoke on BJP ticket distribution in UP elections, Love Jihad, Triple Talaq, and the alleged polarisation of elections by her party. She also ruled out being a CM post contender if her party gets the numbers. Bharti also took on Dimple Yadav, calling her "very insensitive" to the cause of women.

Q: SP or BSP, who do you consider the main opponent of the BJP in UP elections?
A: Before the coalition of Rahul and Akhilesh, SP was a tough number two. They were definitely number two as the media was saying and everybody was seeing it and saying it. But after he (Akhilesh) joined Rahul it is not so. Rahul is treated as very non-serious in Indian politics. Nobody takes him seriously. He shook hands with Rahul, they declared their unity and he gave them 105 seats. Out of those 100 we are going to win around 80. Their joining hands is going to give us a very thick majority.

Q: So since SP was a tough opponent, do you think on the seats which SP is contesting it will be a formidable foe for BJP?
A: SP was a tough opponent previous to Akhilesh holding his party's national convention and expelling his father. The day 202 SP MLAs went to Akhilesh, he was a tough opponent. But after he expelled his father on January 2, half of his own community voter has gone to BJP because they did not like this kind of disrespect to his father. After January 2, SP's ill-fate started. Mulayam Singh made this party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh. We have very sharp ideological polarisation with Mulayam Singh but who can deny that he is the one who created this party. SP core voter has deserted it. Actually, doomsday started for them then.

Q: You attacked Dimple Yadav on the law and order issue in UP. Why her?
A: Because I consider her a non-political person though she is an MP. She was fighting and winning as she is Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law. I always thought that she will be sensitive to the issues of women. She should have gone to the Bulandshahr rape victims, to the Badaun rape victims' families. She could have helped them, consoled them. The culprits are out on bail because the state government did not protest strongly in court. I think Dimple is very insensitive. If she wants to be in politics, she cannot be just Akhilesh's wife. She has to be her own person, has to be very sympathetic to the issues of women, which she is not right now.

Q: She has countered your charge, saying atrocities against women happened in Kutch in BJP-ruled Gujarat.
A: But we take a tough stand (in BJP ruled states). We do not say rapes do not happen in Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh. We have fast track courts in these states. Within 15 days, the verdict comes and mostly the verdict is hanging (the culprit). That is not the case in UP- here the government comes in favour of rapists. Mulayam Singh and Azam Khan were giving statements in favour of rapists. Dimple was keeping quiet though she is in politics. We did not keep quiet when these cases happened in our states. We take very tough action.

Q: Akhilesh Yadav is projecting his achievements and has tried to make the elections presidential. Do you think BJP should have projected a CM candidate?
A: The main opposition for us is (lack of) law and order and our leader is our good image. So it is our good image versus their bad law and order. BJP has a good past (as the ruling party) in UP. Kalyan Singh was declared CM after we got a majority. That was a dangerous indication for our opponents as Kalyan Singh is an OBC. UP was the largest state and we declared him the leader as he had that stature. That caused panic among our opponents who had termed us an upper caste party. But we made an OBC the CM. He, Rajnath Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta had total control over law and order. Bad image of this party (SP) is their negative point.

Q: You are one of the faces BJP is projecting prominently in UP. Do you think that if your party wants you can assume the role of CM?
A: I don't know why my party is doing this (projecting me prominently). I have been chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. They asked me to fight MLA elections, so I did that. I don't take all this (talk of being CM) seriously. I take my constituency and my ministry seriously. Even in my distant thought I do not imagine myself being a leader in UP. Please ask this question to the party as to why it is doing this. I am not capable of giving an answer to this question.

Q: But you will follow whatever your party tells you to do?
A: No, I am not a disciplined soldier of the party. I am a disciplined soldier of people's cause and I am a disciplined soldier of Ganga. I am a fan of Narendra Modi but if I don't like something I will say no to the party.

Q: The 71 BJP MPs in UP have been asked to ensure victory of the Vidhan Sabha candidates in their constituency. What do you have to say to this?
A: As an MP definitely the responsibility does come on our shoulders. But ticket distribution is done by the Election Committee (of the BJP) so the whole party has to take the responsibility. The MP alone can take all the responsibility only when the ticket distribution is done as per their choice. The case is not so. The BJP Election Committee decided the candidates. So this is a kind of arranged marriage in which the groom is decided by the family and the bride has to adjust. So the whole party has to take the responsibility. MP has to work very hard and they all will work very hard. The whole responsibility can never go to an MP. To win or to lose is a collective responsibility.

Q: Earlier BJP was known as a party of Brahmins and Banias. Now there is a shift towards wooing the EBCs.
A: That is the fine social engineering of Amit Shah. I can say that though Amit Shah was born in an upper caste, he comes in the league of Charan Singh and Karpuri Thakur in bringing social reforms in Indian politics. Three parties that dominated Indian politics- BJP, Congress and Left- were dominated by upper caste leaders. The first change in BJP came with Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Shivraj Singh and then Narendra Modi becoming chief ministers. In UP, Keshav Maurya was made state president- that is 100 per cent contribution of Amit Shah. He (Shah) is undefeatable in understanding the sentiments of the people. Tell me, how can you lead a country by leaving out OBC, EBC and SC which is more than 70 per cent of the population?
For long term politics, you have to give them space which the Congress and Left are not giving even today. They are advocating their cause but not giving them positions in the party.

Q: There is a charge against BJP that it is polarising the elections by fielding Yogi Adityanath and others to campaign in western UP.
A: So, we will do. That is our strategy. Election is election. We are not doing anything that is immoral. We are not using criminals, we are not giving money, we are not distributing liquor. All we are deciding is which leader is more important for campaigning in which place. There is nothing wrong with that.

Q: The issue of triple talaq is being raised now during the elections.
A: No, the issue started much earlier. It has nothing to do with elections. It has everything to do with the Muslim women in this country and the world over. It is floating in the elections also but it started much earlier. Modiji and Amit Shah are great social reformers. The country was waiting for them. The Muslim women were waiting for the triple talaq issue (to be taken up). Modiji has pleaded with folded hands that please don't make it a political issue.

Q: But the Muslim clerics say their community should decide on the issue of triple talaq.
A: Let their community start debating this issue. Let law take its own course and let them (Muslims) also discuss this issue. They should allow Muslim women to participate in their debate. Whenever a social reform comes, you should not force it on the people. Before a law is passed, people have every right to voice their opinion.

Q: The Ram temple issue is also being raised in this election.
A: That is because you are asking me. Did I say anything on it till you asked me the question? So don't ask… In TV and newspapers they don't show the question, only show the statement. But it is not a political issue. It is faith. It is my faith that a Ram temple should be built. But why ask at the time of elections.

Q: BJP manifesto promises formation of Anti-Romeo squads. Some people feel this is a way to check "Love Jihad".
A: I don't know that but I know one thing- that if someone really loves someone they will not change their religion. Like Shahnawaz Hussain got married to Renu and I arranged that marriage as there was opposition from both families. Renu is still Renu Sharma and Shahnawaz is not Shahnawaz Sharma. That is called real love. But spending money, taking away the girl, changing her religion- then there is a conspiracy. Sushil Modi has married a Christian and she is a Christian even now. BJP has a very broad minded view on this. But definitely this Love Jihad kind of thing is there. I have seen many families crying in Bhopal also. Shivraj government took tough action. Love cannot be Jihad, love is always coordination and surrender. If it is Jihad then it has to be destroyed.

Q: You have promised a separate state of Bundelkhand to the people.
A: Not just promised, it is my wish since even before I joined politics.

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