CM Maj Gen (retd) B.C. Khanduri seems like the BJP’s only card in Uttarakhand. He spoke to Outlook about the party’s prospects. Excerpts:
You’re fighting ‘anti-incumbency’ despite becoming CM only six months ago! How tough is this election?
All elections are tough. Particularly in a small state like Uttarakhand, where the constituencies are very small and there are many aspirants. Then we have geographical problems, hills, plains, semi-plains. Also, as CM I didn’t get adequate time to prepare. But anyway, I have done whatever could be done.
You think you will be able to handle the anti-incumbency factor?
Anyone in government faces it. That’s why we changed a number of our sitting mlas and we tried to balance it with the good work that we have done, including the Lokayukta bill, the citizens charter, transfer policy and various other development work.
Despite your clean image, there is the baggage your government carries, of your predecessor who was unceremoniously dumped....
Everybody carries baggage. I carry my own from the past, where people find faults, where people find shortcomings. Every human being has his own nature, you have to move along with your shadow. I cannot just wish away the baggage that I carry.... Some of the good things I have done or the BJP has done will be great assets to us.
Tell it to us straight, is your predecessor Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank now a liability for your party ?
Well, if you deliberate only on liabilities, then you come to one conclusion. If you deliberate on the assets, then you come to another conclusion. We must try to minimise the weaknesses. So in that context we have to adjust and get along as a team.