Cong in shambles, will be decimated: Khanduri

Election Tour/Uttarakhand -3

B C Khanduri, BJP’s tall leader in Uttarakhand, is fighting from Garhwal Lok Sabha constituency at the age of 79. A leader with clean image, he is fielded by the party despite a shock defeat in Assembly polls to tap anger against Congress. I spoke to the former Chief Minister in his camp office in Pauri.

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How are BJP and Congress placed in this election?

Congress is in total shambles. They will face humiliating defeat not only in Uttarakhand but also in entire country. Congress has misused these ten years and people are in a mood to punish them.  I think they came to power to loot as much as they can as if they are not returning to power. People think BJP will check corruption and there will be development. People are also very happy that for the first time, there is a feeling that we will not be soft towards Pakistan and China. Narendra Modi has created that image. Youth and women are charged up and this is the atmosphere in the country as I see. If this is translated into votes, Congress will be decimated.

But some senior leaders are not in that awe of Modi.

See, in politics and even in every family there are problems. There will be some leg pulling. There will be fight for family property. These are human weaknesses.

You are fighting from Garhwal and sitting Congress MP Satpal Maharaj has joined BJP.

He was in politics before I came into politics. We have contesting against each other. He defeated me and I defeated him too. He is also a religious leader and he has his followers. His followers will vote for BJP.

Is there a possibility of the state government falling after election?

Both parties cannot form a stable government. BSP has three members, they are fighting among themselves, and two are suspended. There are independents. They are not attached to any principle. They will do whatever they want. You have to depend on these people. Inherently, the government is not stable at all.

After elections, do you see the possibility of a BJP government?

I don’t want to predict. If BJP forms the government, we need to get the support of the same people. If Congress wants to form the government, they will have to depend on the same people. Congress managed 34 with great difficulty. Neither Congress nor BJP has majority. It is not what Congress or BJP want, but what is happening is what the independents want.

Do you forsee an early Assembly election?

I don’t know. People don’t like elections very often. One thing I am sure, a stable government can be formed only when Congress or BJP get 36 seats.

There is a lot of discussion about the pilgrimage to the four dhams.

Things are very bad. The roads are not there. The Central government has not given money to Borders Road Organisation for past three years. After the floods, the state government has also not done anything. My basic allegation against the Central government is they have deprived BRO of funds with an ulterior motive. The top reason is that they want to give it to some big contractors in Delhi and give the whole thing.

(PS: The interview appeared in Deccan Herald on April 26, 2014)

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