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There is no law requiring BJP leaders to retire at 75

A veteran member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Union Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh expressed confidence in the governing party’s third straight win after voting for 379 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats ended on Monday. Rajnath Singh spoke extensively about a variety of topics in an exclusive conversation with Aditi Tandon and Ajay Banerjee, including politics, elections, and India’s stance along the LAC. Take-outs:

Your evaluation after four survey phases?

The goal of having more than 400 seats in the Lok Sabha is being approached.

What do you think about the decline in voting turnout?

The electorate of the opposition is disillusioned and has come to terms with the idea that they cannot form a government. The decline indicates the opposition has been unable to rally support.

In most areas, you reached saturation in 2019. How are you getting more seats?

in Telangana, Assam, West Bengal, and Odisha. We have taken over Chhattisgarh, established a foothold in Kerala, improved our performance in Tamil Nadu, and gained ground in Andhra.

A caste census has been promised by the opposition.

The Opposition has to stop dividing the country with its politics. Government creation is not the goal of politics. It is the construction of a country. Why, throughout its tenure in office, did the Congress not carry out a caste census?

Also raking in Hindu-Muslim Pakistan is the BJP.

Caste or religion has no bearing on our politics. It is predicated on humanity and fairness. The promise of reserves based on religion should no longer be misinterpreted by the Congress, since the Constitution forbids it. We are only expressing the reality that quotas based on religion are unacceptable.

The Congress will steal people’s jewelry, according to the BJP as well. That isn’t stated in their manifesto.

It’s often necessary to explain things simply in order for others to grasp.

The opposition says the BJP seeks to eliminate quotas by gaining 400 seats.

There is no discussion of doing away with the SC/ST and OBC reservations. Regarding constitutional amendments, the Congress made 80 changes to the document. The Preamble, its spirit, was not even spared.

What say you about giveaways during polling?

Freebies were not included in our manifesto. We support enabling the underprivileged on a social level. In two words, Prime Minister Narendra Modi improved the standard of living for the populace and helped 25 crore people escape poverty. We’ll keep doing our social empowerment initiatives.

Which strengths do you want to pursue a third term?

The biggest asset of the BJP is its reputation. We fulfilled our commitment. When words and acts don’t match, there is a credibility dilemma.

The Congress asserts that the BJP would fail to secure 150 seats.

In this election, the Congress is not even the BJP’s main rival. There isn’t a challenger as of yet. Only the name refers to the INDI Alliance. The AAP and the Congress are standing together in Delhi, but they are at a knife’s edge in Punjab.

Kejriwal claims that if elected, Prime Minister Modi would pass the mantle to Amit Shah at his 75th birthday.

This conversation is utterly absurd. “Fitoor hai.” When the age discussion was conducted, I was the president of the BJP. The BJP constitution doesn’t have an age restriction. Candidates older than 75 have been filed by us. For those who can deliver, why should there be any kind of bar?

At 75, LK Advani retired.

As a leader, he is much respected. You’re aware of his illness.

What comes after the UCC, Article 370 abrogation, and Ram Mandir?

India’s economy is projected to grow to the third biggest in the world by 2027, and it will reach developed status by 2047.

Were agricultural regulations a mistake in retrospect?

We eliminated the agricultural laws because people requested their removal. During our period, the MSP for agricultural products increased by 50% to 75%.

So why is mistrust present?

The mistrust has a political undertone.

Congress claims that 2024 would be the BJP’s “India Shining Moment” of 2004.

The times have evolved. We have put forth a lot of effort. By 2027, the Indian economy will rank third, having surged from 11th to 5th place.

According to several studies, inflation and unemployment are the main problems.

Opportunities for employment have also increased. Globally, inflation is a phenomena. We have been able to shield India from inflation whereas other nations have been completely destroyed. That is a triumph.

Why does the BJP not run in Kashmir’s local elections?

That is a component of the party’s bigger polling plan in J&K.

How do you see the LAC impasse after serving as Defense Minister for five years?

The conversations at the commander-level are ongoing, and so far the process is going well. Let’s see what happens in this case.

What is China’s level of threat?

No nation poses a danger to us. Positive signs are coming from the current discussions.

After Galwan and starting in May 2020, you instructed soldiers to occupy positions at the LAC. Are all jobs being filled?

Yes, we do have all of the openings.

When the standoff began in 2020, you shifted troops. It shifted the point of view to face north. What is the significance of the modification?

This, in my opinion, is the product of the forces. They have shown bravery. Whatever the armed services have done throughout the India-China confrontation deserves credit, since the nation’s boundaries and reputation have been safeguarded.

You and your US colleague Lloyd Austin are personally connected. He recently said that the military ties between the US and India are about to enter “a new chapter.”

The GE 414 engine (for the Tejas Mark 2) will be produced in India. We’re also considering taking on extra tasks.

Do we seem to be neutral or biased toward the US?

We don’t belong to any camp. We want positive ties with every nation.

That means we’re not siding with America or Russia?

Not at all. However, in the future, we will make decisions based on India’s interests when they become necessary.

Is Pakistan still a danger ten years after the Modi administration took power?

We are not threatened by Pakistan.

Could you provide a theater command timeline?

The idea has been approved by all three services. Although we’re working fast to finish it, I won’t provide a deadline just yet.

In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), there is unrest.

As I’ve been saying, there is nothing we need to do to take PoK. People there will want to be a part of India because of the current circumstances.

You said that you would be willing to modify the Agnipath plan if necessary.

Any plan may be improved upon. The Agnipath plan works well. People will realize this in 2026, after the four years have passed. I promise Agniveers will have a solid future.

The value of defense exports has increased to about Rs 21,000 crore. Which export goals are there?

Full marks for the PM’s policies. Defense exports could exceed Rs 50,000 crore by 2029–2030, while domestic manufacturing is expected to reach Rs 2 lakh crore.

Your goals if the BJP wins and you return to the position of Defense Minister?

The government makes that choice. I have a lengthy history as a minister.

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