Cong engages in politics of broken promises; people will give them a fitting reply: Chhattisgarh CM

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai. Photo: X/@vishnudsai

Raipur (Chhattisgarh): Till recently, the face of the Chhattisgarh BJP was Raman Singh, the longest-serving chief minister in the state's history. When the BJP regained power in December 2023, he did harbour hope that he would continue his 15-year reign. However, the surprise announcement of Vishnu Dev Sai as the first tribal CM marked a significant shift.

As a Speaker, Raman Singh is not out of the power structure, but Vishnu Dev has now emerged as the primary face of the BJP in the state. The CM has been actively involved in the nomination process of each candidate, signifying a new era in the party's leadership.

Political observers have pointed out that efforts are on to sway the state's 32 per cent tribal population, which has historically aligned with the Congress, to fully support Vishnu Dev and the BJP. In the recent assembly elections, the BJP secured victory in 17 of the 29 constituencies reserved for tribal candidates. In the previous election, Congress had won 27 of these seats. Then CM, a four-time Lok Sabha member and the former minister of state for steel in the first Modi cabinet has been pivotal in this political transition.

During the election campaign, Vishnu Dev shared his vision for Chhattisgarh in a free-wheeling chat with Manorama.

What are your expectations for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in Chhattisgarh? How many seats do you anticipate to win?
There is unprecedented enthusiasm across the country including Chhattisgarh for making Narendra Modi the Prime Minister for the third time. I am continuously visiting all the 11 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. From cities to remote areas, people are giving their love and blessings to Modi ji and the 'double-engine government' running under his leadership. Voters want to ensure their role in building a developed India by voting for the BJP in this Lok Sabha election. We have the leadership of the world's most popular leader Narendra Modi. The schemes run by the Central and state governments have brought changes in people's living standards. We will make BJP's slogan of crossing 400 successfully this time by winning all the 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh.

What is your roadmap for addressing the Maoist issue? The Congress alleges that fake encounters occur under BJP rule.
The Congress has always had a dual nature when it comes to addressing the Naxal problem. I believe that to resolve this issue, the Congress will need to be abolished. On April 16, our courageous security force killed 29 Naxalites in an encounter in the Hapatola forest, located between Binagunda and Coronar, within the Chhotabetiya area of Kanker. This marks one of the most significant successes so far in the anti-Naxal campaign in Chhattisgarh. Instead of taking pride in the bravery of our soldiers, Congress is questioning the legitimacy of the encounter.

The Congress, which refers to Naxalites as martyrs, has its hands stained with the blood of Naxalism. Since Prime Minister Modi took office, there has been a decline in Naxalism. We are dedicated to eradicating Naxalism, which is confined to a small part of the state. On one hand, we are combating Naxalism through development and good governance, thanks to initiatives like 'Niyad Nellanar' (socio-economic welfare for tribals). On the other, our district police and paramilitary forces know how to communicate with the Naxalites in their own language. I want to reiterate once more, that violence is not the answer; Naxalites should integrate into the mainstream of development. Local communities aspire for development and progress.

You mentioned that to eliminate the Maoist threat, you must end Congress. What is the reasoning behind this statement?
The Congress has always been a supporter of Naxalism. the party wants to cultivate votes through Naxalism. The public has now understood the party's intentions. In politics, every person and party has the right to express their views; but taking and giving support to those who go against the constitutional values is a threat to democracy. Congress, which declared the Emergency, has no faith in democracy anyway. The people themselves will root out those who support Naxalites and terrorists.

Your social media post talks about the new anti-conversion bill you plan to introduce soon. Can you explain?
Conversion will not be tolerated at any cost in Chhattisgarh. The law will take strict action against those who manipulate the cultural identity of innocent tribals in the name of so-called social service. We are going to enact even stricter laws to prevent those who induce or force conversions by exploiting legal loopholes. The law is currently being finalised and will be presented in the next Assembly session. Under this law, the police and administration will have the authority to take action against any means used for religious conversion.

Do you believe there has been a significant shift in tribal votes from Congress to BJP after the assembly elections? If so, what is the main reason for this shift?
Tribal communities may be a vote bank for Congress, but they are family for the BJP. The Bharatiya Janata Party is the only party committed to the development of tribal people.

A separate ministry for tribal people at the Centre or the formation of the tribal-dominated state of Chhattisgarh, it was the BJP that made this a reality.

The country has its first tribal woman President due to the vision of PM Modi. He also appointed a member of the tribal family the Chief Minister of the state.

The Central Government recognised the birth anniversary of Lord Birsa Munda Ji as Tribal Pride Day. Within just four months, we have implemented many schemes for the welfare of tribal people in the state. Collectors of tendupatta, also known as green gold, are being offered collection money of Rs 5,500 per standard bag. We are going to establish an Adimjati Bhasha Parishad for translation to and from languages like Gondi and Halbi. Procurement of more than 100 forest produce at the minimum support price is being ensured. On one hand, our government is emphasising the upliftment of the tribals, while on the other hand, the Congress Party and its crown prince Rahul Gandhi are proposing a new definition that would remove the tribals from the forests.

Congress has always misled the tribals to enjoy the pleasures of power, but now it has been exposed. After the Assembly elections, tribal voters will mark the final exit of Congress in the Lok Sabha elections.

As the face of the BJP in Chhattisgarh, how do you assess the performance of the state BJP?
Every BJP worker is the face of the organisation. Each party member is dedicated to advancing the country towards a developed India under the leadership of PM Modi.

We have fulfilled many significant promises Modi ji made in less than three months. We are operating under a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption. A CBI inquiry has been recommended against those who undermine the aspirations of youth by manipulating the PSC exam.

Whether it's the Mahadev app scam or the coal embezzlement, action will be taken regardless of the scale of corruption. The people of the state have witnessed our dedication to the progress of Chhattisgarh. Even in the Lok Sabha elections, the public will deliver a message to the Congress, which engages in politics of broken promises, corruption and nepotism.

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