MAJOR GENERAL (Retd) B.C. Khanduri, who was at the centre of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) campaign in Uttarakhand, is shocked by his defeat in Kotdwar constituency. The party ran the campaign with the slogan Khanduri hai zaroori (Khanduri is needed). Khanduri took over the reins from Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in September 2011 to become the Chief Minister for a second time. In an interview to Frontline he said the current fluid political situation was not good for the State and even if the Vijay Bahuguna government survived the confidence vote, development would suffer. Excerpts:What went wrong?
I had exactly three months and 14 days to deliver as Chief Minister. As is my style, I started off in fast-forward mode. The time constraint was there, and it was a daunting task to win the elections in the State once again. But I am satisfied that I did my best. I was able to take three or four major decisions.
The biggest achievement is that I was able to convince the people that whatever I was doing was not an election gimmick. I sincerely believed in the State's development. People were convinced and their attitude towards the BJP actually changed. We lost the target because of the many ills within the party. We lost not because the people did not support me but because of the problems in the party.
Was it a shock to lose your seat when you were able to help so many others win?
Of course, it was a big shock. It was a bad defeat. But in retrospect, I think I took the people for granted. I thought since I had represented the Garhwal Lok Sabha seat since 1991, people knew me, they knew my work, so why I should go there. I thought my work would speak for itself. Obviously, that was not enough, and then there was this disinformation campaign against me. It was total mismanagement, nothing else. We defeated ourselves.
In the existing state of political turmoil, do you see a role for yourself? For example, if Vijay Bahuguna loses the confidence vote, do you see yourself in any role if the BJP were to form the government?
All that is for the party high command to decide. But I feel sorry for the State because whichever government comes, it will not be able to function because there are too many independent entities floating around, which could destabilise any government at any time.
What role do you see for yourself in the near future? Uttarakhand or national politics?
That will depend on what the party wants me to do. I have always been a loyal party worker. But, yes, Uttarakhand is my first love, and I would like to work for the development of the State.Purnima S. Tripathi