Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Brajesh Pathak has attacked Opposition parties, saying they are a "group of people greedy for power", and exuded confidence that his party will win all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2024 general elections.
The people are with the BJP and have great faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he will return to power for a third consecutive term, he said.
In an interview with PTI, Pathak asserted that the BJP will wrest the Rai Bareli Lok Sabha seat from the Congress -- currently represented by Sonia Gandhi -- as well as win Mainpuri -- a Samajwadi Party (SP) stronghold represented by Dimple Yadav, the wife of party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
"Rahul and Priyanka (Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra) will not be able to do any miracle in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. People here do not take Rahul Gandhi seriously," he said.
"In Uttar Pradesh, the account of the Congress and the entire Opposition will not open in the Lok Sabha polls," Pathak said and added that "the BJP has faith in the people, whereas the opposition is a group of people greedy for power".
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won 64 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh and its ally Apna Dal (S) two. The SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had jointly contested the elections in which BSP won 10 seats and the SP five. Congress won the elections only in Rae Bareli. In subsequent bypolls, BJP also won in Azamgarh and Rampur.
On the Amethi Lok Sabha seat, which Rahul Gandhi lost to BJP leader Smriti Irani in 2019, Pathak said whether Rahul Gandhi will contest from Amethi, will be his party's decision. But Smriti Irani will win with more votes than before, and this time, "we (BJP) will also win Rae Bareli, and with a huge margin", the deputy chief minister said.
Rahul Gandhi had contested the 2019 polls from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad in Kerala. He represents the latter in the Lower House of Parliament. Former Congress president and his mother Sonia Gandhi has been elected to the Lok Sabha from the Rae Bareli seat four consecutive times since 1999.
Pathak said that BJP workers are making "special" efforts to win the seats which the party could not win last time.
On Opposition INDIA bloc, which includes the Congress, the SP, the JD(U) and the RJD, the BJP leader said, "These are the same people who were involved in UPA-1 (United Progressive Alliance) and UPA-2. This is a group of people greedy for power." "There is a group of power-hungry people who want to gain power by misleading the public by any means possible. The public understands them well," he said and added that the "these are the same people who were in power with the Congress in the UPA-1 and the UPA-2 (governments at the Centre), and like the Congress, they are immersed in the quagmire of corruption".
The deputy chief minister said, "The BJP will win 80 out of 80 (Lok Sabha) seats in Uttar Pradesh and the BJP government will be formed for the third time under the leadership of Modi ji with an overwhelming majority." On Akhilesh Yadav's allegation that the women's reservation bill is a "half-finished bill" and a mockery of a serious issue, Pathak said, "The BJP has always respected women - as Shakti, as Saraswati and as Lakshmi." The BJP has worked to create true respect for women in the entire country, he said.
The bill to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women received the parliamentary nod on Thursday as the Rajya Sabha voted unanimously in favour of it.
The 128th Constitution amendment bill, referred to as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, will now require the approval of a majority of state assemblies. It will be implemented after a delimitation exercise to redraw parliamentary and assembly constituencies based on a census which the government has said will be commissioned next year.
On the issue of SP national general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya making sharp remarks on Sanatan Dharma and Brahmins, Pathak said, "I would not like to say anything on them. He does such things just to appear in the media." "But such things have no place (in the hearts of the public). Such language does not suit a senior leader like Swami Prasad Maurya," he said.
To a question on BJP candidate Dara Singh Chauhan's defeat in the Ghosi assembly bypoll, Pathak said, "Look, we worked for the bypoll, and we are reviewing the problems that arose due to local equations." "There has been no strategic lapse on the part of the BJP regarding Ghosi. Situations keep changing. Yes, it is true that the number of voters supporting the BJP there is not as much as in every assembly constituency. Due to this, there was some problem but we will take steps so that it does not happen again," he said.
On a question regarding the SBSP, Pathak described Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar as his good friend. "Rajbhar is our friend" and he is a good leader, a great social worker and people love him, he said.
On whether there is any preparation for an alliance with smaller parties in Uttar Pradesh for 2024, Pathak said, "It will depend on the circumstances. I will not say anything now, but preparations are made according to the circumstances. We constantly work according to the circumstances and remain alert."
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