Young State BJP President Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis perfectly carries both his personality and political decorum with equal ease. He is one of those young saffron leaders with X-factor which is difficult to find in current breed of party leaders. His essential persona is often received with uniform warmth in local political circles and as poll pundits put it, his role is vital in deciding the party’s electoral fate in the state during the upcoming general and assembly elections.
The leader with mass appeal, Fadnavis has also served as Mayor of Nagpur. He holds a Graduate Degree in Law from Nagpur University, a Post Graduate Degree in Business Management and a Diploma in Methods and Techniques of Project Management from D.S.E. Berlin.
Right since treading the political path in the mid-nineties, Fadnavis has come a long way in a short span of time. With the key qualities required to pull the game through, Devendra has played many leadership roles for both his political party as well as an elected representative of the people of Nagpur.
Catching up on his political journey this far, Nagpur Today interacted with Fadnavis at stretch in which he shared his political moves, challenges and future course of action. The Excerpts…
After taking charge of President of Maharashtra state unit of Bharatiya Janata Party, the upcoming Lok Sabha Polls is the biggest challenge you will be facing. What are the plans?
I find the present situation very positive for the upcoming Lok Sabha Polls. There is usually a positive as well as negative wave which is either for or against the party. We are ensuring that the positive wave is transformed into our favour and a comprehensive strategy is followed to ensure that. The freshly initiated ‘One Note – One Vote’ drive is a part of our strategy to connect to at least 50 lakh families in Maharashtra.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, BJP got 70 lakh votes. If we contact 50 lakh families a huge number of votes could be garnered. This will certainly prove to be a game changer. We have made a basic strategy to work both off-line as well as on-line.
It is said that Aam Admi Party is fielding a candidate from your constituency to contest against BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections in order to divide the number of votes. Are you bothered about the division of votes.
I am not bothered about that. Keeping in mind what happened in Delhi when AAP won some seats and formed the government, there was an euphoria. There were many people who were keen to support BJP and when AAP came into being, they saw that this could be an alternative. However after looking at the abrasion and flip-flop by Arvind Kejriwal’s government, the people have realized that he is not walking the talk. These people have shifted their loyalties to BJP since BJP is the only alternative left in the fray. I feel that AAP cannot make any dent in BJP’s electoral bank in Maharashtra.
Have you decided on the seat sharing formula with Shiv Sena in Nagpur and Vidarbha as a whole? If so, please elaborate?
We are going to follow the same seat sharing formula we have agreed upon in 1991. The agreement still holds good and we will be sharing the seats in the same ratio agreed upon. The ratio is 26 seats to BJP and 22 seats of Shiv Sena. As of now there is no change in the seat-sharing formula. However we are very keen to acquire the Ramtek seat and the South Mumbai seat which is presently with Shiv Sena.
What is BJP’s poll strategy? What do you feel about Nitin Gadkari winning the election from Nagpur? What are your strategies to ensure BJP winning in the upcoming elections?
Nitin Gadkari is the best bet for BJP. One cannot have a better candidate. He strikes a direct connect with the people in Nagpur. Gadkari has an appeal even outside the party voters which is going to help us. Apart from the traditional BJP voters, he has good appeal among the minorities like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. In Nagpur the Other Backward Castes and the trade community has always supported BJP. This extends Gadkari’s appeal over the cross section of the society. We have ensured a a team at every booth, which is working towards connecting to many families and people.
The citizens of Nagpur wanted to see Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi coming to their city. When can we expect Narendra Modi in Nagpur? Is there any discussion underway for organizing Modi’s visit to Nagpur? What do you think about Narendra Modi’s prospects of winning in the LS Polls?
Yes. Modi can address one public meeting in Vidarbha. Looking at his busy national engagements, we would like to organize the public meeting at a central place where people from 6 constituencies of BJP especially from East Vidarbha can get benefit of this. We are contemplating an ideal venue for this.
City Chief of Congress party Vikas Thakre’s recently alleged that BJP is trying to make black money white through the Ek Note-Ek Vote drive. What do you say about this?
Everybody knows which party is indulged in corruption of lakhs of crores of rupees. The Congress party has no face to talk about the black money. The entire regime has been wasted in shielding the corrupt people and securing black money abroad.
You have made a statement to an English Daily that Congress party takes finances and funds from corporate houses. Do you intend to do that?
We are not opposed to receiving corporate funds legally. However, if elections are fought on the basis of finances from corporate houses then the policies of the government would be biased towards these corporate houses. We feel that if we raise finances from the common man as well, our accountability towards the common man would be more. Therefore most of our finances will be raised from common man. ‘Ek-Note–Ek Vote’ drive has been initiated to let people know if you trust us to give one note then it is assured that you would give your votes too.
What is your opinion about CM stating that toll booth collecting charges for projects below Rs 10,000 crores.
It is a total eye wash. How can the CM say that the total value of toll is One lakh ten thousand crores, out of which if you cancel collection of toll from Rs 220 crores, the government is cancelling only a fraction of one per cent (1%). How is it going to help? What happens to the remaining money collected from the other toll booths? This is just a poll gimmick.
– As told to Samuel Gunashekharan