No competition from the opposition

Interview/ Manohar Lal Khattar, chief minister, Haryana

PTI9_13_2018_000093B Manohar Lal Khattar | PTI

What are the BJP's prospects in the coming elections?

For the assembly polls, our supporters are showing the same enthusiasm they had shown during the Lok Sabha polls. The response of the voters in Haryana will remain the same, or better in some pockets. The opposition is decimated and is trying hard to please the people, who have experienced our good governance model.

Our government is committed towards NRC and we will ensure that no illegal migrant is included in it and no Indian is left out. —Manohar Lal Khattar

Will the economic slowdown be an issue in these elections? Industrial units are reportedly shutting down in Haryana.

Haryana has the third-highest per capita income across all states and Union Territories. The economy of Haryana has grown at 8.7 per cent in the last five years, which is higher than the national average. Hence, intricacies of economics will hardly be a talking point during the campaign.

Why do you feel there is a need for a National Register of Citizens in Haryana?

NRC is a national issue and it is very important from our internal security perspective. Identifying illegal immigrants in the state is our responsibility. Our government is committed towards NRC and we will ensure that no illegal migrant is included in it and no Indian is left out.

What sets your government apart from the previous governments?

Good governance is our pitch to the people. Before we took the baton in 2014, people had to make numerous visits to government offices for even petty works. There were middlemen everywhere. Five years later, we can confidently say that we have given the people a transparent system, where they can just go online, fill a form and avail any service. They also receive updates on their mobile phones and do not feel alienated. So, people are satisfied.

We have ended the sifarish (recommendation) system as well. Now, people get their appointment letters sitting at home. No one had ever imagined that such a thing would happen in the state. We have not just given people hope, but also delivered on it. It is because of what people have experienced in the past five years that they are standing by our side. This is not just a tall claim but a fact that can be vetted by all the past election results—the Jind bypoll, mayoral and Lok Sabha elections.

Critics are questioning the relevance of Article 370 in state elections.

Haryana’s population is just two per cent of the country’s population, but 10.6 per cent of soldiers are from the state. So, it goes without saying that nationalism flows in the blood of the people from Haryana. Doing away with Article 370 and Article 35A was our promise and we made our stand clear in the 1950s itself. Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee had then said it is not possible to have two flags, two chiefs and two symbols in one country. The BJP has fulfilled its promise.

It is said that the BJP, in the last five years, has made an effort to consolidate the non-Jat votes in the state.

We are against any labels. We have worked for everyone, irrespective of caste and creed, and given them a fair representation. And, the support we have received from the people is a testimony to this.

How do you look at the opposition in the state?

The people of Haryana have repeatedly rejected nepotism and politicians facing corruption charges in the last five years. The people are now voting for the BJP, a party that has given them a stable, transparent and honest government. We do not face any competition from the opposition since they barely have any genuine issue concerning people. Their only concern is how to manage the infighting in their party. Coming to the BJP, we are focusing on taking various government initiatives and achievements to the people. We will ensure that we deliver what we promise.