Sultanpur nothing to do with Rae Bareli, Amethi; issues purely local here: Maneka Gandhi | India News

Refusing to comment on the BJP’s call to wipe out the Congress from Rae Bareli, eight-time MPManeka Sanjay Gandhi says she prefers to focus only on her constituency. Seeking re-election, the BJP MP from Sultanpur envisions a bright future for son Varun Gandhi who has been benched by the BJP this Lok Sabha elections. In an interview with Pankaj Shah, she spells out her strategy.Excerpts…
How do you see the political issues churning up nationally this election?
I have no idea about issues outside Sultanpur. And for me issues in Sultanpur are purely local.
The BJP leadership is spinning the political narrative around Hindutva. Don’t you think the election is going on a communal track?
Not here in Sultanpur.
Are you dissociating yourself with the BJP’s campaign line?
I don’t dissociate or associate myself. I just want to stay with people in Sultanpur. My objective here is to see what people want here.
Then how do you tend to go about it?
See, there is no need to create big problems when there are none. We have tendencies to create big issues for nothing. We have no big issues here. People just want to remain connected with their elected representatives (MPs and MLAs).
Do you prefer keeping a very low profile while connecting with people?
That’s the only way I work.
What’s your opinion about BJP taking on Congress in Rae Bareli and Amethi calling for making them “Parivar mukt”.
Seriously, I just don’t want to get into this. I just don’t want to comment on them at all. I never comment on other seats and other parties and their leaders. Rae Bareli and Amethi are not an issue here in Sultanpur.
You have been associated with the BJP for over two decades. How much has the party changed over the time?
You know, all political parties adapt themselves to leaders. So as the leader comes there is an adaptive change in a party and its organisation.
Didn’t it hurt when your son Varun who himself has been an MP, was benched by the BJP?
Let’s just finish it off. I just can’t keep feeling the pain.
Varun has been missing from action ever since he was denied a ticket. Will he campaign?
I do expect him to campaign here soon.
What future do you see for Varun?
I see a very bright future for him. And I am sure he will work very hard for it. A party does not depend only on MPs. In fact, most of the leaders in BJP are not MPs.
You said that Sultanpur is your only focus. What kinds of problems do people come up with and do you go about it?
They often come up with bizarre problems. There is a man who wants the body of his wife exhumed. I don’t tell a lie. Everybody’s work is done. And if it is not done then it is explained as to why it could not be done.
The BJP leaders keep raising the Ram Temple issue. PM Narendra Modi has been cornering opposition for not attending Ram Temple consecration ceremony. How do you see the overall issue?
It is not an issue here. Ram Mandir is in everybody’s heart. It is not an active issue for me and my supporters here.
Do you plan to visit Ram Temple?
I visited the temple before the consecration ceremony.
How do you see the challenge from the opposition? You won the last election by a narrow margin (14,000 votes).
I am working very hard. My party is working. I hope my winning margin will significantly increase this time.

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