New Delhi: CR Patil is BJP MP from Navsari. That doesn’t make him different, but what sets apart this 1955 born leader is that he won with the highest victory margin of 6.89 lakh in the bitterly fought 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He polled a mind-boggling 74.37 per cent votes. This is still half the news. His victory margin was more than that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by as many as 2.10 lakh votes. Modi’s victory margin was 4.79 lakh.
First India caught up with Patil to find out how he made this:
How have you taken PM Narendra Modi’s campaign of ‘Nal Se Jal tak’ on a mission mode and reached out to every household and ensured that every home is availed of tap water?
Surat, where I live, consists of seven State Assembly constituencies, comprising of over 12 lakh voters and Navsari has three assembly constituencies with seven lakh voters. 97 per cent of Surat is being provided the best treated water in the entire country. It is only in some rural parts of Navsari, which face some difficulties due to the vicinity to the sea. So we took 7,000 households to start our rainwater harvesting project in 2014. We convinced the villagers of its benefits and explained that even if we have hundred mm of rains on a 14 X 45 terrace, we can fetch more than 1 lakh litres of sweet water. Due to our efforts, the groundwater levels also got raised, the water became sweeter and the chemical-oxygen demand and biological oxygen demand also fell. The people also cooperated very well and we also started rainwater harvesting in the gram panchayat, the district panchayat, municipality and Municipal Corporation offices. Subsidies of Rs 3,000 to Rs 30,000 were also availed.
Is it true that you yourself took the initiative and starting from your home, you went down right to the streets to drive the campaign?
l and all the BJP members urged the people for rainwater harvesting. It caught on to the extent that the villages started competing amongst themselves and the campaign gained momentum.
How did you take up the tree plantation drive?
Long time ago, Narendra Modi as Gujarat CM had suggested that every approach road to the villages should be adorned by trees on both the road sides, which I had remembered. So, taking the help of NGOs, purchased tree saplings and planted at least 300 such trees along side the approach roads to the villages. Due to such efforts, our district topped Gujarat in tree plantations this year.
You made your entire district smoke-free. What was the big idea?
The ‘Adarsh Gram’ scheme by our PM is not just about developing infrastructural facilities in a village. We take the PM’s dreams down to the minutest detail. Chikhli became the first village as Adarsh Gram, where we carried out 34 developmental projects. We also ensured that no child is malnourished. So, we selected 25 expecting mothers out of 54 undernourished ones and our Mahila Morcha women members ensured that they stay nourished. Under the PM’s Ujala scheme, we ensured that not only the BPL cardholders avail that scheme, but also those who are not covered under it. As per the 2011 census, they were also included in the scheme and availed the benefits. So now, there is not a single family in Navsari which has smoke while cooking. Officially Navsari was declared smoke-free and so were the Udhana and Limbayat constituencies, resulting in the entire district being declared smoke-free.
You are not a born politician. You were an entrepreneur and a businessman, how did you end up being a politician?
I was a police constable. I got my big chance when the former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, got me into the BJP in 1989. I very closely observed and got inspired working with Narendra Modi, who was the general secretary at the time. My experiences as a police personnel also helped me in my political career to work with discipline. Narendra Modi used to experiment a lot and we also tried to replicate that which yielded good results.
Kashiram Rana was considered a big name in politics of South Gujarat but you have surpassed him. How have you developed a good control over the South Gujarat politics?
I do not control the politics, but I am connected to the ground down to the lowest worker and whatever you are seeing in the election results is due to all the workers. The true deserving ones are the workers.
The Delhi state assembly results didn’t turn out as expected by the BJP. What went wrong?
Today was the worst day for democracy. The trend, which is being set is cultivating a bad habit of giving freebies to the voters and this has established by this election results. In democracy, if somebody is granting freebies he becomes a “Khuda”. Our PM always says that if somebody wants to have a free meal he can avail it at any temple but if he works hard toiling even to dig pits the hard-earned money will give him more satisfaction.
Is it true that the BJP failed to convince people of the CAA and NRC as every MP was told to but the people overruled that and voted for the AAP?
Every issue has its own importance. People’s belief that so and so cannot happen has been made possible. The true issues of this country have not received a good response through this voting.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I am quite satisfied as an MP. After getting elected, it is our responsibility to care for workers and try to do something new, taking them along with us. Whatever I have received is far more than what I deserve.
Looking at the work you have done, would you appeal and suggest the MPs in the North to make more efforts?
I don’t deserve to appeal or suggest to anyone. I always get inspiration from the PM and we try to materialize his each and every small suggestion onto the ground. Out of the 20 lakh voters, over 10 lakh have voted for me so more than 50 per cent and now it is my duty to meet their aspirations.