Union Minister Piyush Goyal is in the US attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), but is keeping a close watch on the assembly elections in five states back home. He spoke to NDTV on the sidelines of the APEC summit on the elections and what the BJP has so far determined the results would be like.
Mr Goyal said he is confident the party will see a landslide win in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, while the party is “clearly ahead in Chhattisgarh” and Madhya Pradesh “will return to BJP”.
Opinion polls and analysts have predicted the BJP would win in Rajasthan, lose in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, while Mizoram is unclear and the battle in Telangana is mainly between the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and the Congress.
Mr Goyal, however, dismissed these predictions as not reflecting the ground situation.
“It is very clear what we see on the ground, TV and X (formerly Twitter) leads me to believe the tide has turned in Chhattisgarh and we are clearly ahead of the Congress. Madhya Pradesh, even before I left India, was coming back to the BJP,” Mr Goyal told NDTV.
“I have visited Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh extensively. Rajasthan is looking to be a one-sided affair; we are doing extremely well in Rajasthan. Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are poised to give BJP victories,” the Union Minister said.
Mr Goyal said he will be able to see the Telangana situation after he returns to India. “Telangana… voting is on November 30. I have had only two visits to Telangana before coming here. Once am back and see the situation on the ground, I will get a better sense of what’s happening,” he said, adding the BJP will win in at least three states – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh – where he had extensively campaigned.
On Tesla and EVs in India
Mr Goyal, who visited the Tesla factory, said there are many Indians in the Tesla team, “who have done us proud.”
The government wants to discuss Tesla’s plans about elements from India in their supply chain, especially after Tesla doubled their imports from India, he said.
“We are adopting electric vehicles (EVs) very fast. Nearly 40 per cent two-wheelers are EVs now. For commercial buses and cabs, it’s a no-brainer to use EVs; it’s much more economical and eco-friendly,” Mr Goyal told NDTV.
For private vehicles, however, the Union Minister said the battery costs are a deterrent but will hopefully see a rapid price correction.
“In the next 10 years, the fastest growth of EVs is likely to happen in India. The government has also bought a lot of EVs, I can see that on the roads,” he said.
Mr Goyal also met US leaders including President Joe Biden at the APEC summit. He said India has not decided yet on whether to apply for joining the APEC. India had made a request to join the grouping in 1991. While a majority of members were in favour of India’s inclusion, some opposed it, citing the country’s record on economic reforms and claiming that it has “protectionist instincts”.