Dehradun: As BJP expelled 17 rebels for fighting against the party's official nominees in Uttarakhand polls, state party chief Ajay Bhatt has described them as "over-ambitious people" and said their exit will not impact the saffron party's prospects in the assembly election.
He downplayed claims of discontent among party leaders over allocation of tickets to Congress rebels who joined the BJP and asserted that "Modi wave" will be one of the important factors in the polls in Uttarakhand where the party is fighting the election on development agenda.
"BJP is a party of principles and its activists work with loyalty. Those who were over-ambitious have rebelled and are fighting against the party. There won't be any effect on the party with the exit of such over-ambitious people," Bhatt told PTI.
Taking action against the rebels who have chosen to remain in the poll fray as Independents despite the party's efforts to cajole them to withdraw, the BJP has suspended as many as 17 such rebels for six years.
On the other hand, over a dozen prominent Congress faces have rebelled and joined the BJP which has fielded former Congressmen from 13 seats in the election to 70-member assembly in Uttarakhand on 15 February. "These people left Congress as they were feeling suffocated in the party due to anti-people policies of Harish Rawat government and central leadership of the party. They were also feeling that only Modiji and BJP can deliver development to Uttarakhand. That's why they left Congress," the state BJP president claimed. Pointing out the reason for not projecting any chief ministerial face ahead of the polls in the state, Bhatt said political strategy changes from time to time depending on the circumstances and the party has opted for collective leadership for the polls in Uttarakhand.
"BJP sometimes projects a face and sometime we do not and work under a collective leadership. We have examples of both types. In Haryana, we did not project any face and results were favourable."
"This time, party has not projected any face in Uttarakhand and we have adopted the strategy of collective leadership. On the other hand, we have our Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is a great leader and has no parallel. He covers all faces," he said.
Bhatt claimed BJP is going to form the government in Uttarakhand with two-third majority. "The first reason is the desire of common man for development. Now, they have understood that BJP is the only political party which can deliver. Simultaneously people have faith in the leadership of Modiji."
"Also, people are now fed up with Congress and its leadership. Corruption of Congress government and involvement of Chief Minister Harish Rawat has been exposed and now people of Uttarakhand has decided to get rid off Congress," he claimed.
Talking about the party's agenda for the state, he said, "If we wish to summarise the agenda in one line, it is development of all. Modiji has said we have to make Uttarakhand as a Uttam Pradesh (best state). "We have to utilise 'jawan' (youth) and 'pani' (water) of the state for the state. We have to provide a clean and responsible government to the people which should be accountable." "We have to check 'palayan (migration)' of the people from hills to plane. All sections should feel that this government is their own government. We have to deliver to people and fulfill the aspirations of people," he said. Asked about the impact of the results of 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the assembly polls, he said there is no doubt that "Modi wave would be one of the important factors which will influence this election also". "The popularity of Modiji is increasing day by day and this is due to his policies and actions. This factor is also evident from the results of elections which were held recently in different states," he said. On accusation that BJP is indulging in dynastic politics by giving tickets to family members of its leaders, Bhatt said, "BJP is against 'vanshvad' (dynastic politics) but there is also another factor. In a family, if more than one person is active in political field and has a mass base, how can he or she be denied ticket just because another member is being given ticket?"
"This is what happened this time in Uttarakhand. Such tickets are given on basis of merit and not on the basis that their other family members are influential," he said.
On reported angst in party loyalists due to tickets being alloted to Congress rebels who had joined the saffron party, he said, "We have only 70 seats in assembly and more than 1,500 people were aspirants. Naturally, more than 1,400 people did not get tickets." "As a natural reaction, few people expressed their unhappiness. But as a disciplined worker of the party, majority of them have accepted the decision of the party and now they are working for the party. Those few who are not in line with the party are now facing action."
On the accusation that BJP has bought Congress heavy weights by paying them money, he said, "There is no truth in this allegation. They all are established leaders and can you think that they wanted any such thing?"
Asked about former Uttarakhand BJP chief and sitting MLA Tirath Singh Rawat reportedly expressing discontent over allocation of ticket to the Congress rebel Satpal Maharaj from Chaubattakhal seat, Bhatt said, "Tirath is a dedicated leader of the party. He understands the situation. After initial reaction, now he is working wholeheartedly for the party." BJP has appointed Tirath as the party's national secretary, a move seen in political circles as an attempt to placate the sulking leader.