BJP has zero tolerance towards graft, brought transparency: Uttarakhand CM Rawat

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BJP has zero tolerance towards graft, brought transparency: Uttarakhand CM Rawat.

Trivendra Singh Rawat says the BJP will again win all the five Lok Sabha seats from Uttarakhand in 2019.

The BJP stormed to power in Uttarakhand last March, winning 57 of the 70 assembly seats, a first for any party in the state which has battled political instability ever since it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000.

Considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his RSS days, Trivendra Singh Rawat pipped his rivals in the BJP to become the state’s eighth chief minister. The 57-year-old from Pauri Garhwal completes a year in office on March 17.

During a visit to New Delhi, Rawat spoke to Kumar Uttam on his achievements, challenges from within and outside, and how he prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Excerpts:

You complete one year in office next month. How do you rate your government?

We have taken several steps to ensure good governance and eliminate corruption. We decided to have zero tolerance towards it. We brought transparency. Several initiatives have been taken in the field of health, education, power, revenue generation and infrastructure. Biometric attendance system has been introduced and 1,000 doctors have been appointed.

The BJP had accused the Congress government of indulging in corruption. Do you propose to investigate those matters?

There was a scam worth Rs 211 crore related to works on NH 74. Eighteen people went to jail and even the high court refused bail to them. We will take an impartial stand on probe relating to scams under the previous government. There will be no witch-hunt. We will ensure fair probe and transparency.

BJP got a three-fourths majority in Uttarakhand and won five Lok Sabha seats in 2014. How sure are you BJP will repeat its performance in 2019?

We will win all five Lok Sabha seats again. Prime Minister Narendrabhai has announced works for Kedarnath Dham, bharatmala projects worth Rs 13,000 crore, all-weather road worth Rs 12,700 crore, a new expressway connecting Delhi and Dehradun, and many more.

The result of Gujarat assembly election and bye-election in Rajasthan exposed BJP’s vulnerability. Do you see the Congress rising again?

The BJP increased its vote share in Gujarat by 2%. There was polarisation on some seats, but it is a record for a state to be under one party’s rule for 26 years. When one party rules for a long period, anti-incumbency sets in a bit. It happens that a section of people are unhappy and they want a change.

I believe there will be no impact of all these on the BJP. We are going to form the government in Tripura. Even we did not imagine some years ago that the BJP will have its government in many Northeast states. Today, BJP rules 62% of India’s population.

Rahul Gandhi recently took over as Congress president. Do you think he can revive his party?

He works like a robot. He repeats what is tutored to him. He has tried to drag the BJP in the Nirav Modi controversy. What has the BJP (got) to do with it?

But Rahul has levelled serious charges against the Centre and the BJP. Doesn’t his aggressive politics trouble the BJP?

Rahul Gandhi has become out of date. He neither has political talent nor capacity. Till the time he is there, it is a blessing for the BJP.

Doesn’t Rahul’s charge dent BJP’s reputation?

What has the BJP (got) to do with this? It is a matter between a businessman and a bank. It should be looked into in that context.

Some BJP MLAs have aired voices of discontent against you. Don’t you listen to them?

I take note of every genuine suggestion made to me. I keep meeting ordinary people. If their grudge or advice is genuine, I listen to them.

Some former chief minsters from your party, too, are said to be upset with you. Do you face any trouble from them?

They (Ramesh Pokhriyal, BC Khanduri, Vijay Bahuguna and Bhagat Singh Koshyari) are like elder brothers to me.

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