Keshav Prasad Maurya, the new BJP chief of Uttar Pradesh, has said that his party's aim was to make the state "SP-BSP free" and its preparations for the assembly polls next year were in full swing.
In an interview with IANS, Maurya described himself as true "Rambhakt" (devotee of Lord Ram) and said construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya was not an election issue for him.
"Being a Rambhakt, I want a temple must be built in Ayodhya but it is not an election issue. It's a matter of our belief," Maurya said.
He said the temple must be built either through the court process or through mutual understanding.
Maurya, who belongs to the Other Backward Classes, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Phulpur in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The seat, once represented by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was won for the first time by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Maurya said his appointment was not based on any caste calculations by the party and he was "a true soldier of nationalism and development."
"I take this opportunity as responsibility, not as challenge. My only target is to bring the party in power in 2017 assembly elections," Maurya told IANS.
"We are determined to make this state SP-BSP free and to achieve this we will have to work tirelessly day and night," he added.
"I have been given this responsibility as I am a true soldier of the party. I am from poor background and have struggled a lot to reach this height," he said.
Maurya, who once sold tea and newspapers to pursue his studies, said his struggle against "misrule" of Samajwadi Party would begin with new vigour.
"People of Uttar Pradesh had voted SP in power but it failed to deliver on their expectations. We will bank on the failures of SP government while also highlighting corruption of the previous Bahujan Samaj Party government," he said.
Maurya, a former VHP functionary who appointed BJP chief in Uttar Pradesh on Friday, said that achievements of Narendra Modi government will boost the party's campaign in the state.
"By 2017, the work done by the Modi government would be visible at grassroots level, which was not visible during Delhi and Bihar elections. This will be additional advantage. We will go in the elections with failures of SP, corruption of previous Mayawati government and achievements of central government," he said.
Maurya said that party's preparation for 2017 assembly polls were in full swing and he will take stock soon.
"I will soon hold a meeting of responsible party leaders of the state and will chalk out further strategy. We have already formed (committees on) one lakh booths in the state," he said.
Maurya denied any factionalism in the party and said "with blessings of all the seniors and cooperation of colleagues," BJP will try to repeat its performance of Lok Sabha election where it won 71 of total 80 seats.
When asked about pending charges against him including one related to murder, Maurya said:"All these charges are political in nature. Being an activist I have always raised my voice for the poor and downtrodden and the charges are politically motivated."
(Brajendra Nath Singh can be contacted as email@example.com)