The coronavirus pandemic will not only impact campaigning for elections but also bring changes in the political narrative with issues of sustainable development, healthcare and self-reliant India getting more prominence, BJP general secretary and key poll manager Bhupender Yadav said on Sunday.
With assembly elections in Bihar due later this year, Yadav asserted that the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government has performed well on the development front and ably handled the coronavirus crisis including the return of migrant workers.
“The impact of coronavirus would, however, be seen not just on the mode of communication but also on the political narrative. In terms of issues and the discourse on development, there will be a greater focus on sustainable development, healthcare infrastructure and building an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India),” he told PTI in an interview.
At the same time, he said, the BJP has always prioritised issues of governance and developmental politics which has been appreciated by the people, and the results of 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls are a testimony to it.
Yadav, whose skills have been used by the BJP in strategising and handling many crucial state assembly elections including Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jharkahnd, feels political parties may now use digital platforms even more vigorously.
“Previously, it was the print media, loudspeakers and public rallies that served as means of political communication. In recent decades, social media, which has had a big impact on echoing political narratives, has emerged as a potent medium to reach out to people,” he said.
Asked about the plight of migrant workers during the coronavirus lockdown, Yadav said the movement of workers was minimal in the first three phases and the government used that time to build healthcare facilities in villages to deal with the influx.
“The government did not allow migrant movement in the initial phases to ensure villages had required healthcare facilities to deal with the influx. Once it was in place, the government arranged trains to take the migrants back home,” he said.
Yadav emphasised that it was necessary to ensure that there were adequate quarantining and isolation facilities at the village level.
Stressing that the pandemic was an “unforeseen disaster” that had caught the world off-guard, the BJP leader said, ”The Modi government is tackling the crisis with utmost sincerity in consultation with experts and complying with every possible healthcare criterion.”
On the situation in Bihar, the BJP's in-charge for the state said more than 10 lakh migrant workers have returned mostly through Shramik Special trains and the state government has been making all necessary arrangements for their quarantine and other requirements.
“The coalition has received strong appreciation and approval for its work in Bihar. And we will seek the blessings of people of Bihar to continue our work for the progress of the state and the country,” he said.
Yadav, a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, also chairs the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice.
He said it is not possible to conduct the committee's work through video-conferences and added that the present COVID-19 crisis is temporary in nature.
The main thrust is that under all circumstances, the committee's work must be for the purpose of strengthening democratic principles and values, he said.
Yadav has chaired more than 12 committees so far including eight select committees of the parliament.
Under his chairmanship, he successfully convinced opposition parties into agreeing on many contentious Bills. These include the GST bill, Enemy Property Bill, Insolvency bill, bill to give constitutional status to OBC commission and surrogacy bill.