‘BJP to make all payments through cheques in the upcoming polls’

Neelu Vyas

BJP’s National Secretary Siddharth Nath Singh has said that the party is not pursuing any self-goal through demonetisation. In an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV he also said that PM Modi has taken the biggest political risk with implementing demonetisation.

Dismissing allegations by the Opposition on the insider trading within BJP, Singh argued why the party or the government would bite the bullet knowing that crucial assembly polls were due early next year.

He hailed demonetisation in favour of the national interest and said that people might be inconvenienced but they do understand the larger gain.

Singh also said for the upcoming elections, all payments will be made in cheques and that party will fight on the core issues of corruption and black money, and not on caste lines.

Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:

Is BJP pursuing a self-goal through demonetisation, especially for the upcoming polls?

BJP is pursuing no self-goal. Demonetisation is a rare moment for the country and it will have no adverse effect on the upcoming elections.

But aren’t some BJP leaders off camera admitting to being jittery because the inconvenience caused to the common man can turn the electoral tables for BJP?

The nation is with PM Modi on demonetisation. There is no inconvenience to the common man. The common man is with the government on demonetisation. The optics of demonetisation is bad, but people are with the government. Rabi crop is now 8.5 % higher than the previous year.

But Opposition has come together by citing the problems of the common man?

The Opposition has no credibility. You need a leader like Modi for a step like this. Demonetisation can turn the tables for the BJP. GST & demonetisation are two big reforms by the BJP government. Voters are facing some inconvenience but they are happy for the big gain for country in the long run.

Is BJP under some kind of damage control?

The BJP is not doing any damage control. Demonetisation will change the course of India. The public is also contributing to this reform. The lifestyles of people will change when the society turns cashless. Demonetisation is a masterstroke and the government is helping the nation in the long run. BJP is contributing to social responsibility even as the Opposition continues to whip up negative sentiments.

BJP has asked all its MLAs and MPs to give the details of their bank transactions…Is it not a political gimmick?

BJP has started transparency within its own home and that’s how the entire nation will follow. We lead by examples and our intent is very clear.

For the upcoming elections, how will you make all the payments?

All payments will be made through cheques. Payments for rallies will also be made through cheques. There is a will within the BJP to make the change happen. Party president and PM Modi are very serious about curbing corruption. Elections will be more transparent than what they used to be.

Is it the biggest political risk which PM Modi has taken? Could it turn out to be the biggest pitfall for him?

All regional parties work on unaccounted money. Which political party will burn its fingers just before elections. BJP has built the momentum and BJP has the courage to take the political risk. PM has taken a call in favour of national interest. Demonetisation is a great step. The logic is, if something is good for the nation, it will be good for the party.

What are the main issues for the BJP in the forthcoming assembly elections?

Main issues for elections will be corruption and black money. We have fulfilled our promise of 2014 and we have delivered what we said.