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Neeraj Singh EXCLUSIVE: 'PM Modi's vision for India is dynamic and inclusive' says Rajnath Singh's son

With over twenty years of experience in the party, Neeraj Singh views PM Narendra Modi's vision as one that fosters innovation, empowers the youth, and drives economic growth. As an MBA, Singh believes that managing elections is similar to running a global business, requiring a deep understanding of diverse groups and the ability to unite them toward a common goal.

Neeraj Singh EXCLUSIVE: 'PM Modi's vision for India is dynamic and inclusive' says Rajnath Singh's son
First Published May 18, 2024, 12:52 PM IST

With polling completed for 381 seats in four out of the seven phases, the 2024 Lok Sabha election has now crossed the halfway mark. As focus shifts to the fifth phase scheduled for May 20, voters from 49 constituencies across six states and two Union territories will determine the fate of 695 candidates, including prominent ministers.

India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, representing Lucknow, is contesting for the third consecutive term to enter the lower house of Parliament. Having won the seat by an impressive margin of 2,72,749 votes in 2014, followed by an even larger victory with a margin of 3,47,302 votes in 2019, it's 'Lucknow Bole, 5 Lakh Paar' for his supporters in 2024.

BJP leader Neeraj Singh, who has campaigned extensively throughout the city, asserts that his father's work as MP has led to notable improvements in Lucknow's infrastructure, which is a growing center for technology and innovation. He adds that the next term will focus on revitalizing the old city while preserving Lucknow's cultural heritage and modernizing infrastructure.

A big admirer of the Defence minister’s qualities of patience, perseverance, and passion, his younger son discusses his childhood, politics, and more with JAIDEEP PANDEY :

How do your childhood memories of Lucknow’s evolution into a modern city align with the efforts of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who also serves as the local MP, in shaping its growth over the past decade?
Growing up in Lucknow has been a fascinating journey, especially witnessing its transformation into a modern metropolis. It's like watching a city come of age while preserving its cultural roots. My childhood memories are filled with the sights and sounds of a city that was bustling with history and tradition. When we look at Lucknow today, we see a vibrant city that has embraced modernity without losing its essence. This transformation didn't happen overnight; it's a testament to the visionary leadership of our Defence minister and local MP Rajnath Singh, who has tirelessly worked to shape Lucknow's growth over the past decade.

Under his guidance, significant infrastructure improvements have been witnessed in Lucknow, with investment surging by over 50% in the past decade. This includes the construction of new roads, flyovers, and the enhancement of existing facilities. Notably, the expansion of the Shaheed Path, a pivotal ring road, has slashed city travel time by 40%, fostering accessibility and attracting investments, both domestic and foreign.

Recognized under the Smart Cities Mission, Lucknow has made commendable progress in enhancing urban living standards. Digital governance, notably through integrated command and control centers (ICCC), has improved civic service efficiency by monitoring city operations.

RM’s initiatives have propelled Lucknow into a burgeoning hub for technology and innovation, beyond physical infrastructure enhancements. His vision embraces educational and social reforms, ensuring inclusive growth. The proliferation of educational institutions, including universities and research centers, by 30%, has bolstered the skilled workforce.

On the healthcare front, the addition of five new hospitals and facility upgrades has increased capacity by 20%, indicating a dynamic operational shift in Lucknow. This blend of preserving cultural heritage while advancing towards modernity resonates with my childhood perception of Lucknow's potential and my aspirations for its future.

Neeraj Singh EXCLUSIVE: 'PM Modi's vision for India is dynamic and inclusive' says Rajnath Singh's son

Transitioning from an active role in the 2023 municipal polls to leading the campaign for the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat, what do you find most challenging and exhilarating about being the young leader of your party?
One of the most challenging aspects has been understanding and addressing the diverse needs and aspirations of a larger electorate. Lucknow, with its rich historical significance and dynamic modern-day challenges, demands more than just scaling our operations. It's about deepening engagement with different communities and age groups, and adapting our message to resonate across this wider audience.

However, this challenge also makes the campaign exhilarating. There’s palpable energy in connecting with people across the spectrum, from young tech enthusiasts to those cherishing Lucknow's traditions. Each day brings a fulfilling learning experience.

As a young leader in the BJP, I carry the responsibility of infusing new ideas and energy into our initiatives while respecting our party's legacy. It’s about balancing innovation with tradition, engaging with the youth, leveraging technology, and bringing fresh perspectives while upholding our party's values.

It's a blend of old and new, tradition and innovation. I’m here to bridge these worlds, propelling Lucknow forward in alignment with the aspirations of all its residents. Leading this charge is an honor, and every day adds a new chapter to this exciting journey.

How does your international MBA background contribute to your strategies in election management and building public relations?
That’s an excellent question, and one I often ponder (smiles..).Studying for an MBA internationally was an enlightening experience, primarily because it provided me with a panoramic view of diverse business cultures and practices. Managing elections, much like managing a global business, requires a deep understanding of diverse groups and the ability to unite them towards a common goal. 

One of the core areas where my MBA helps is in strategic planning and execution. In election management, we need to be meticulous with our planning, understanding voter concerns, and ensuring our message resonates well with different demographics. My education equipped me with analytical tools to dissect complex data, identify trends, and craft strategies that are not just reactive but proactive.

Building public relations, on the other hand, is about creating and maintaining trust. My background has taught me that at the heart of all successful relationships—be it in business or politics—is effective communication. It’s about being clear, honest, and consistent—qualities that are essential in the political landscape. I learned about the importance of how a consistent message creates a coherent identity, which people can relate to and trust. Moreover, studying abroad exposed me to a tapestry of perspectives, helping me appreciate and incorporate inclusivity into our campaigns. It's about more than just understanding what communities need; it's about actively listening to them and making them feel heard.

So, in essence, my international MBA has not just been about learning global business practices but about applying these universal principles to the intricate dance of democracy in India. It’s about ensuring that our strategies are inclusive, our planning is robust, and our communication bridges gaps, bringing people together for the common good.

Neeraj Singh EXCLUSIVE: 'PM Modi's vision for India is dynamic and inclusive' says Rajnath Singh's son

Considering your recent city-wide travels and the introduction of the slogan 'Lucknow Bole, 5 Lakh Paar,' do you perceive the upcoming election in Lucknow to be one-sided?
Absolutely not! While our slogan 'Lucknow Bole, 5 Lakh Paar,' reflects our confidence and the tremendous support we've received, we believe every election is a new battle, and we respect the electoral process and the choice of the people. Our journey across the city has been eye-opening. We've interacted with thousands of residents, understanding their aspirations and challenges, and this has only deepened our commitment rather than making us complacent.

Lucknow is a vibrant city with informed and discerning voters, and to assume the election to be one-sided would undermine the democratic spirit of this great city. Our aim with the slogan is to set a high benchmark for ourselves. It’s about setting ambitious goals and working tirelessly towards achieving them. Every single vote matters to us, and we are here to earn it with hard work and dedication. So, no, the election is not one-sided—it’s an opportunity for us to reaffirm our bond with the people of Lucknow and for them to choose a future they believe in.

With Lucknow, like many rapidly developing cities, is indeed undergoing a transformation in its infrastructure, with improved roads being a key aspect. However, the decline in green spaces is a concern that needs to be addressed holistically.

Firstly, it's crucial to acknowledge Lucknow's significant investments in creating and preserving green spaces. Under initiatives like 'Green Lucknow, Clean Lucknow,' the city has witnessed the development of over 200 parks, including the expansive Atal Bihari Vajpayee Botanical Garden, inaugurated in 2019, which spreads across 75 acres as a testament to the city's commitment to ecological conservation.

Uttar Pradesh aims to increase green cover by 15% in the next five years, demonstrating a commendable vision amidst rapid urbanization. This involves developing new parks and reviving existing ones. Efforts to integrate more green infrastructure into urban planning, such as vertical gardens and green rooftops, are underway to mitigate the impact of development on green spaces. Community involvement through tree planting drives and awareness campaigns is crucial for sustaining these efforts.

Maintaining a balance between development and environmental conservation is imperative. Our objective extends beyond constructing a modern city; we aim to establish a sustainable and livable environment for future generations.

Neeraj Singh EXCLUSIVE: 'PM Modi's vision for India is dynamic and inclusive' says Rajnath Singh's son

With the successful completion of the 105 km outer ring road, a key project championed by the Defence Minister, what major initiatives can we expect in his upcoming term to revitalize old Lucknow?
The completion of the 105 km outer ring road marks a significant milestone for Lucknow's infrastructure; the focus now shifts to revitalizing the old city. Defence Minister's vision for the upcoming term prioritizes preserving Lucknow's cultural heritage while modernizing infrastructure. This includes revitalizing historical sites, improving public transportation, and promoting sustainable urban development. Boosting tourism and creating economic opportunities for local communities are key priorities, ensuring Lucknow remains vibrant for residents and visitors.

Given the water scarcity in some areas and concerns about the Gomti river’s degradation, do you plan to initiate conservation efforts like rainwater harvesting to address these environmental challenges?
Thank you for highlighting this crucial issue. Water scarcity and river degradation demand urgent attention. Under CM Yogi Adityanath’s leadership, the UP government is taking bold steps to address these challenges. We're committed to making water conservation a mass movement. Initiatives like the 'Atal Bhujal Yojana' are crucial for raising awareness and building grassroots capacity. Additionally, we're expanding groundwater conservation schemes, forming water committees, and promoting rainwater harvesting to conserve and reuse rainwater effectively.

Recently, I met with senior hydrogeologists to discuss innovative techniques for water management. Post-elections, I aim to implement these discussions on the ground.

Neeraj Singh EXCLUSIVE: 'PM Modi's vision for India is dynamic and inclusive' says Rajnath Singh's son

How do you interpret PM Modi’s political vision today, especially in light of his recognition of your achievement in mobilizing 50k 'Viksit Bharat Ambassadors' to NaMo App in a week?
PM Modi's vision for India is dynamic and inclusive, focused on development and progress for all. His recognition of our work with the 'Viksit Bharat Ambassadors' is a testament to his commitment to engaging with the youth and harnessing their energy for nation-building. I see his vision as one that encourages innovation, empowers the youth, and drives economic growth through initiatives like ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make In India’.

His acknowledgment of our efforts underscores the importance of youth participation in shaping the future of our country. It's truly inspiring to be a part of this vision and contribute to the development of a stronger, more vibrant India.

As the son of the Defence Minister, which qualities of his leadership do you admire and seek to embody in your own political endeavors?

There are 3 Ps: Patience, perseverance, and passion.

His patience is remarkable; he listens to all viewpoints, considers them thoughtfully, and then takes decisive action. This quality is essential in politics, where understanding diverse perspectives is key to effective governance.

His perseverance is inspiring; he faces challenges head-on, never giving up until he achieves his goals. This determination is a driving force to work tirelessly for the betterment of our nation. 

And his passion is infectious; he truly cares about serving the people and making a positive impact. This passion fuels my commitment to public service, driving me to advocate for policies that benefit our people and strengthen our country. In every aspect of his leadership, my father sets a high standard that I aspire to meet. I’m proud to follow in his footsteps and contribute to the legacy of leadership he has established.

Post-elections, can we anticipate a more prominent role for you in Uttar Pradesh’s political landscape?
My role in Uttar Pradesh's political landscape will ultimately be decided by the party leadership and our Prime Minister after the elections.I've had the privilege of serving the party for over 20 years, and I'm committed to continuing my service in whatever capacity the party deems fit. My focus remains on working tirelessly for the welfare and development of the people of the state, in alignment with the party's vision and the leadership's guidance.

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