Tonk (Rajasthan): Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and state cabinet minister for transport and public works Yunus Khan is contesting against Rajasthan Pradesh Congress chief Sachin Pilot in Tonk. The only Muslim candidate of the BJP in Rajasthan, Khan says that the party is contesting this election on the issue of development. Edited excerpts:

In this election you have changed constituencies to contest against Sachin Pilot. How do you see this contest?

The kind of support we are getting in rural areas, the kind of enthusiasm we are seeing in the youth…, I feel there should be no doubt that there is a contest here. But we also need to accept that the contest is strong. No side can ascertain for sure that they are winning… The environment we are seeing right now is in favour of the BJP.

Do you think the BJP will be able to fight anti-incumbency?

We are seeing a lot of enthusiasm. People are waiting for hours at our public meetings. There is a lot of love for us. People acknowledge our speeches and give us their feedback. Where can you see anti-incumbency? This kind of enthusiasm among people shows that they are inclined towards the development that has taken place under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje and Narendra Modi. Our agenda in this election is development.

What have been the achievements of the BJP government?

We have increased rural connectivity. There is a large number of people now below the poverty line here. Through our schemes we have given them free healthcare worth 3 lakh. Along with this, there is their pension, construction of toilets and they also get pulses. We have worked towards developing infrastructure in villages, empowering women and also looked at ways to increase Rajasthan’s gross domestic product (GDP). We have focused on agriculture, infrastructure, market and tourism.

What is the agenda ahead?

I am contesting from Tonk constituency. Earlier, there was tobacco business, handlooms. Slowly, this has been dying because the Congress government had not focused on this. We are now making schemes to revive the industry in the constituency. By declaring this area as an extremely backward district, we will develop facilities and give customized packages. Through these customized packages, we will bring in industry here and bring electricity and water. For the next five years, we will given them benefit under GST and sales tax to motivate them to set up industry here. The idea is to provide jobs to the youth and look at ways to facilitate farmers. Also look at improving girls’ education.

The Congress is criticising the BJP over lack of governance and unfulfilled promises?

We have completed 95% of the promises that we had made during the previous election. Congress cannot come up with concrete examples. The manifesto that the Congress has released this time is the same as last time. That is because they did not get an opportunity to work on their promises. We, on the other hand, have fulfilled our promises and that is why we are talking about development.

How do you see the BJP’s prospects in this election?

We will come back to power with absolute majority. BJP will form the government in Rajasthan under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje. In 2019, the people of Rajasthan will again come out in support of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi.

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