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Home > News > India News > Article > Lok Sabha elections 2024 Nothing has been done in the last fifteen years says Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Nothing has been done in the last fifteen years, says Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Updated on: 17 April,2024 07:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Vinod Kumar Menon |

BJP candidate for Thiruvananthapuram, Rajeev Chandrasekhar says his party aims to make government and politics work for people

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Nothing has been done in the last fifteen years, says Rajeev Chandrasekhar

BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar says very little development work has been undertaken in the last 15 years. Pics/Atul Kamble

Your campaign slogan is ‘Ini Kaaryam Nadakkum’ (Now things will happen)… what things haven’t been done in this constituency by the sitting MP (Shashi Tharoor) so far? What do you propose to do for the constituency if your party wins?
‘Ini Kaaryam Nadakkum’ is a deeper statement saying that ‘it is time’… that Thiruvananthapuram in particular and Kerala in general join the mainstream of development and economic growth that most of India is witnessing today. So ‘Ini Kaaryam Nadakkum’ is a message that for several years and decades, Thiruvananthapuram has lacked development, investments and jobs, and therefore as the Supreme Court said, as for Kerala’s economy and in the Thiruvananthapuram case as well, things are not in good shape and so ‘Ini Kaaryam Nadakkum’ is a call to action saying let’s make things happen again… let’s make work again, let’s make the government and politics work for people.

Road widening work being carried out in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Road widening work being carried out in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

So in terms of what has not been done, of course, nothing has been done in the last fifteen years. Very little has been done, and whatever little has been done in the constituency was done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Central government, not the state government nor any initiative of the sitting MP who has been sitting here for fifteen years, has materially impacted or done nothing significant for the district. People continue to suffer as they suffered for five, ten, or fifteen years, whether it is the coastal fishermen issue or the city of Thiruvananthapuram, or Techno Parks, the lack of growth and expansion, or investments into manufacturing or any other areas including infrastructure. Everywhere there is a sense of negligence and there is an obvious sense that Thiruvananthapuram is falling behind compared to the rest of the country and other metros. what do you intend to do?
I have a comprehensive vision for Thiruvananthapuram, where working as a minister in Narendra Modi-jis government, and as an MP representing Thiruvananthapuram, I have already undertaken a large number of initiatives as a minister in technology and skills, and jal shakti. I will bring jal (water) to every home under the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ scheme. For example, a large number of homes continue to be without drinking water… over 2.69 lakh homes do not have basic amenities like safe drinking water. There are thousands of people who still lack a home after over 75 years of independence, and many so-called schemes by the Congress and the LDF (Left Democratic Front). So there will be a focus on basic needs and protection of lives on one hand, and on the other hand, creating a framework, built around tourism, technology, the fishing industry and agriculture, which will spur investments and create job opportunities for the youth. So this is broadly our vision and approach.

The sitting MP had stated that BJP had promised and yet not delivered in Kerala. Is the ‘Modi Guarantee’ only to break promises made to Kerala?
This is a bit of a red herring, and you know this is the problem when you start thinking that you are too clever… when the referendum is on your performance as an MP for fifteen years and you start blaming everybody else for your inability to deliver. This is a classic way of distracting. What people want to know is what you have done in fifteen years and your only response is that the BJP did not do this and the BJP did not do that. Never assume that the people of Thiruvananthapuram are ignorant or can be conned. People are wiser to know that he is expected to deliver… he is expected to do things other than writing letters and occasionally raising a question in the parliament. As an MP, there is a serious expectation that you do something for the people and positively impact their lives. But if you have nothing to show, obviously you will start blaming everybody else, including the weather, the sun god and all of that.

Are you promising a timeline for the completion of your vision?
I will lay out a vision plan for five years, and as I have said publicly, I will hold myself accountable in a very different way from the last fifteen years, where at the end of fifteen years, all you have to show is a few highways that were developed by the Union government.

The population of Kerala comprises 42 per cent Christians (17+ per cent) and Muslims (27+ per cent). How does the BJP’s Hindutva ideology hope to secure their votes?
This is an old myth propagated more by the Opposition parties. Our ideology—if there is an ideology you want to refer to—is an ideology of development and equal opportunities for all. And the Prime Minister has said repeatedly ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’, which translates to ‘everybody together and prosperity for everybody’. So, the Constitution is our guiding principle and guiding book. The ideology is to make a ‘viksit’ India, and that every Indian, regardless of caste, creed, gender and geography, has an equal opportunity to succeed, grow and build a better future for himself and his family. So this myth that somehow the Muslims and Christians are their vote bank is a free pass for Congress despite it doing nothing for the last fifteen years. It is a myth that will explode in this election.
You have moved from Karnataka to Kerala now, a stronghold of the Congress and CPI-M-led coalitions. What are the changes BJP is carving inroads into Kerala in this poll?
I think, I am confident that the people of Kerala, and Thiruvananthapuram in particular, want the same thing that people from all around the country want—they want a good opportunity for development, progress and prosperity. I see that their expectation of having a performing MP and a performing minister representing them in Delhi is absolutely legitimate and required. I think there is a deep-rooted frustration of so many years… of this LDF-UDF ‘jugalbandi’ politics that has kept the people of Thiruvananthapuram and Kerala behind. People are fed up… they want change and I think this election will bring the change they want.

You have set up shop as an entrepreneur in Kerala upon returning from USA. What are the major hurdles that persist for industry in Kerala and how does your party plan to combat these issues?
The atmosphere today for entrepreneurs is absolutely terrible. There is a terrible atmosphere for investments mainly because of this LDF-Congresses approach towards entrepreneurship, towards success… they want people to remain poor and dependent on government salaries and pensions so they don’t have the ability to soar, This is inherently the difference between the ideologies of the BJP-NDA and the LDF-UDF. We want to empower people to grow and succeed and thereby India succeeds. These people (LDF-UDF) want—as they have shown for the last 65 years—people to remain poor. They want people to remain enfeebled and dependent so they can be controlled… by controlling their pensions and salaries. So, this is a fundamental difference between us and them.

What are your views of another hot seat for the party viz Thrissur where cine actor Suresh Gopi takes on Congress candidate K Muraleedharan and CPI’s Sunil Kumar?
I think we will do well in multiple seats in Kerala. I am not in the astrology business or the political prediction business, but I can see this deep-rooted desire for change amongst Malayalees in more than one place in Kerala.

Your advice to the youth and first-time voters?
This is a very important moment in your lives, there is a huge opportunity that is being created by the Prime Minister all around the country. India is being looked at with great respect, by the world, there are many investors and companies coming to India, and many jobs and startup opportunities are available for the youth. It is time that they step up and vote for change and really build a better future for themselves by making me the MP and the minister, who represents Thiruvananthapuram.

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