Meet Yunus Khan, BJP’s Only Muslim Candidate in Rajasthan Polls
Video Producer: Anubhav Mishra
Video Editor: Abishek Sharma
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded just one Muslim candidate in the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly elections and he is going to contest against one of the tallest Congress leaders in the state. Meet Yunus Khan. Khan is a minister in the current Vasundhara Raje Cabinet and has filed his nomination from Tonk Assembly seat.
Why is this seat crucial? Because this is the seat where Congress has fielded perhaps their most popular leader of the state, Sachin Pilot. Speaking exclusively to The Quint, Khan answered the questions on Muslim representation in BJP, development policies and Sachin Pilot.
Why were you, an outsider, offered a ticket from Tonk and not the incumbent MLA?
All of us are mere workers of the BJP. We have worked as the servants of the people. In the last 5 years, I was responsible for the construction of roads across Rajasthan and the bus transport service. I have visited every corner of the state. Even in Tonk, we constructed roads in all 36 Gram Panchayats. We also provided them national and state highways. So it’s unfair to reduce me to a constituency and call Sachin Pilot a state-wide leader. I entered politics before him. I have worked for this state. It’s okay if he has a tag of state president but I have also served the people in Rajasthan.
Has BJP made you the sacrificial lamb?
These are the words of media. I don’t want to comment on it. But, what I will tell you is that on 11 December, the public and BJP workers will show you who is sacrificed and who is the lamb.
But Sachin Pilot is a big Congress leader. Also, Tonk has a significant number of Muslim voters and hence the BJP has fielded you.
I agree that Sachin Pilot has become a taller leader than Ashok Gehlot. I have been campaigning in Tonk. I don’t think that a big face alone will be of much help. This election is between a public servant and a master. I think Tonk’s voters will elect a public servant.
What do you mean when you say ‘master and servant’?
I use these terms because Sachin Pilot is the chief of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC). He himself chose to contest from this seat because candidates in Congress are handpicked by Sachin Pilot and his friend Rahul Gandhi. And I call myself a servant because I have served the people of Tonk and Rajasthan. We have ensured that villages are connected to a road. He (Pilot) was an MP and a minister for 10 years and he never paid any attention to the people of Tonk. On the other hand, in all the 170 villages you will find a road constructed, which was commissioned by me.
PM Modi talks about ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’ but BJP gives a ticket to just one Muslim candidate in 200 seats.
When a road is constructed or when water connection is provided, then all castes and religions avail the benefits.
What about representation from that community?
Every party has its own political reasoning on who to give a ticket to and who not to. Tickets are not distributed on the basis of caste or religion. It depends on how much a person believes in the party’s ideology. I am connected to BJP’s ideology. I am a dedicated party worker. Hence, I am provided with the ticket. If someone else also works for the party then they too will be provided with the ticket.
Will you contest elections on national issues or local issues?
I am not a national leader and hence, I will not go into the national issues. The biggest local issue here is employment and how to create more employment. New industries need to be set up so that more jobs are created. New projects should be announced. These will be my issues.
But you were in power for 5 years. Then why is unemployment an issue?
Those who have ruined the state and this country for 55 years don’t have the right to demand our 5-year report card. But we will provide a report card. We did provide employment opportunities. We provided 3.25 lakh government jobs. Approximately 18 lakh were employed in private and other sectors. Around 45 lakh were given Mudra loans. So we have provided job opportunities and we want to do more. We are fighting on these issues. We want to increase the pace of development. Otherwise, whenever Congress has come to power, the speed of development has been reduced. We are working to ensure uninterrupted development.
How many seats will the BJP win?
BJP will get an absolute majority under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje.
But no one is saying what number of seats.
We will win as many seats as we won the last time.
Are you feeling the pressure of this high-profile contest?
There is pressure. But not on me. It’s on him who you are calling a stalwart Congress leader.
But surveys show that BJP is trailing.
We will talk about it on 11 December at 11 am about who is under pressure, who is the sacrificial lamb and who the surveys support. And we won’t, but TV channels across the world will say that history has been created in Tonk. This election is between Sachin Pilot and the voters of Tonk & BJP workers. This election isn’t about Yunus Khan. If we lose, then it’s my loss but if we win, it will be the victory of Tonk.