All sections with BJP, says Jitin Prasada; predicts thumping win in Uttar Pradesh polls
Uttar Pradesh minister Jitin Prasada said the BJP has the support of every section of society and dismissed claims that Brahmins in the state are upset with the party.
He also predicted a comprehensive victory for the BJP in next year's Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, saying the ruling party will surpass its previous tally.
A former Union minister, Prasada had joined the BJP earlier this year after quitting the Congress.
His induction into the BJP was seen as part of efforts by the party to strengthen its support among the Brahmins, an electorally dominant section constituting 13 per cent of the UP population.
The BJP, Samajwadi Party and the BSP had earlier held "sammelans" to woo Brahmins ahead of the Assembly polls.
When in the Congress, Prasada had started a campaign for the "honour and self-respect" of the community through the Brahmin Chetna Parishad.
When asked about claims that Brahmins are unhappy with the BJP, Prasad said, "Let those saying this continue to say. I can say with full confidence that the majority of every section of society is with the BJP and its one-sided."
"As far as Brahmins are concerned, we are in public life and we take everyone along, but if someone talks about the community, if someone is being harassed, then we are ready to provide justice and help as far as possible," the UP technical education minister told PTI in an interview.
Prasada said he was sure that the BJP will surpass its previous tally in the Assembly polls scheduled early next year. The BJP had won 312 of the 403 seats in the 2017 polls.
"The trend is clear and I can say with hundred per cent surety that the previous record of crossing 300 (seats) will be surpassed by the BJP," he said.
When asked about the basis of his claim, he cited improvement in law and order.
"Earlier, we used to ask people to come to UP, they used to say that they will go to South India as they do not get security and a business-friendly environment here," he said.
"But now investment is coming, five international airports are in UP and this is a big achievement in itself. This will prove to be a milestone for the future of UP in the times to come," the minister said.
He said UP is being "transformed through expressways".
"I am sure that we will get the blessings of people and you will see that UP will be on top on every scale," he claimed.
When asked about quitting the Congress despite being close to the Gandhis, Prasada said, "I had earlier also said that after much deliberation, I decided to change the party. It was not a momentary decision. It was not that you got angry with anyone after denial of ticket or not getting any post."
"I considered various points. I took this decision after being influenced by the strong and powerful leadership of the prime minister," he said.
"He believes in resolving problems by taking public support," Prasada said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become the "most famous PM" of the world.
"It's a matter of pride that the PM of India has world class acceptance," he added.
When asked about leaving central politics and his experience with CM Yogi Adityanath, Prasada said, "I consider myself lucky that I am getting the privilege of working with such great leaders under their guidance."
"The Centre or state does not matter much. The aim is to serve people and protect their interests. It was a privilege that I was given responsibility in my own state," he said.
Prasada said that within two months of taking over the ministry, he visited 20 districts and had an interaction with students of polytechnic and engineering colleges.
On complaints about fee and harassment of students in private schools and colleges, he said, "It has been only a few days for me and you are correct. Arbitrariness in the matter of fee will not be tolerated. I myself am committed to this matter."
The minister says he has given instructions that the institutions should make their fee structure public, put it on their websites and if any complaint is received from a student, then a portal should be made for that.
He said his focus is to make technical education job oriented and students self-reliant.