Haridwar MP and Ex CM Dr Ramesh POkhriyal Nishank , who begins his day reading the newspaper and watching news channels and as the sun starts climbing higher in the sky, surrounded by the people to plan about about how to keep their own home turf intact to defeat chief minister Harish Rawat from Haridwar constituency and establish BJP led government in Uttarkahand. He expressed his views with Dainik Nation Bureau. Excerpts
DNB—As several Congress MLAs have joined BJP and BJP has reciprocated by giving ticket to them as well, do you think that party has lost its direction and is currently groping in the dark?
ANS—Listen, the decision was taken by the party high command so I cant say anything on it.
DNB—-Despite knowing the fact that Haridwar lok Sabha is represented by ex CM Nishank, chief minister Harish Rawat is contesting election from one of the seat belong which falls in your Lok Sabha constituency. Does it mean that Nishank is losing his edge?
ANS—People of Haridwar have already rejected him by defeating chief minister Harish Rawat’s wife Renuka Rawat during general election-2014. That time they did not realise how Harish Rawat as chief minister of state would drive the state. Now people are aware of how he has promoted corruption in the state so I am confident that people will punish them so that he would not dare to enter into the Haridwar constituency thereafter.
DNB—Don’t you think that Chief minister Harish Rawat, who is contesting election from two assembly constituencies — Haridwar Rural and Kichha which fall in Haridwar and Nainital- Udham Singh Nagar Lok Sabha constituencies repesectively, is giving an open challenge to two ex CMs — Koshyari and you?
ANS—It is clear that CM Rawat has realised that he will lose which is why he is contesting election from two assembly constituencies. Another fact is that CM Rawat used to talk about the mountains but he is trying his political luck from plains which means he could not dare to come into election fray from mountains. It means people have understood its political gimmicks which is why he is in election fray from the plain. I reiterate that CM Rawat will have to taste defeat in both of the seats.
DNB—These days ex chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who along with eight dissident Congress MLAs including your friend Harak Singh Rawat had joined BJP few months ago and now he is very much active as whenever anyone is joining BJP then he has been welcoming them in the presence of BJP State in charge Shyam Jaju. Does it mean that his stature has grown taller than other three ex CMs—Major General Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri (retd), Bhagat Singh Koshyari and you?
ANS—As you said that he has joined BJP by deserting Congress and now people are coming to us from the Congress so he has been welcoming the newcomers into the BJP. As you know all three ex-CMs are also representing Parliamentary constituencies in the Lok Sabha so they have been concentrating on their constituency because it is a combined effort to ensure party victory and form BJP led government in Uttarakhand.
DNB—Does it mean that Nishank is not in the race for the post of chief minister of Uttarakhand?
ANS- Who said this?. Did I say this?
DNB- Does it mean that you are in the race for the post of CM?
ANS—I can’t say anything on this. During my tenure as the chief minister of Uttarakhand, the state had witnessed phenomenal growth in every sector. Even per capita income and Gross state domestic product (GSDP) were highest till now. I repeat that I am giving these figure to educate you and nothing else. As far as the chief minister’s post is concerned then it is discretion of the party central leadership and I am a worker of the party. My first and foremost duty is to execute the instructions which the party assigns to me or others.
DNB—You are one of the senior leaders of BJP in the state and have also served the state as chief minister, so what is your personal opinion. Is it right or wrong?
ANS—I can’t say anything on it because ticket was allotted by the party’s central parliamentary board with the consultation of central election committee (CEC). I was part of it so the decision was taken unanimously. Party cadre is bound to follow the direction of party leadership. Now party has categorically talked of winning the state electorally so we are working day and night and you will see the result on March 11 on counting of votes.
DNB—It is being said that you had started poaching opposition MLAs. For instance in 2007 you had managed to lure then Congress MLA Lt Gen TPS Rawat (retd) into BJP. What do you have to say on this?
ANS—Lt Gen TPS Rawat (retd) was running annoyed because he could not grab leader of opposition post so he decided not to attend house proceedings under the leadership of the then leader of opposition Harak Singh Rawat. When I came to know that he is upset with Congress party decision and he would not attend house then I met him. During meeting Gen Rawat said that he is feeling suffocated so I had given him an option and he readily agreed to vacate his seat. It does not mean that I had poached him. Instead of saying poaching you should say that being a part of treasury bench I only helped him. It was party decision to increase one seat without disturbing current number of BJP MLA so I fulfilled party wishes.
DNB—Don’t you think that BJP has become akin to the Holy Ganga, wherein people take dip to get rid of their sins, and now Congress minister, MLAs joined BJP, now becoming holdy candidate?
ANS—I have told you that it is party’s decision so don’t question me on it. As far as my view is concerned, then I am bound to fulfill the order of party so don’t blame me for this.
DNB—Do you think that senior leader Satpal Maharaj contesting election from Chaubattakhal in Pauri district and sitting MLA and ex state BJP president Teerath Singh Rawat being denied ticket was a wrong decision which apparently annoyed party cadre?
ANS—I repeat my words, that it is party’s prerogative to decidet whom to field where so don’t grill me on this. I know the person whosoever given ticket from my assembly constituency — Haridwar.
DNB—Has party given you or other ex-CMs — especially who are representing in Lok Sabha– any assurance that you will be inducted into the union cabinet?
ANS—I told you from the beginning that it is for the party to decide whom to field where. If party thinks or says anything on it then do you think that I will discuss it with the media?