Interviews

Kirti Azad: BJP is party of jumlas, I am extremely disappointed with PM Modi

Dhanbad Congress candidate Kirti Azad speaks to Ashlin Mathew during a break between campaigns

Dhanbad Congress candidate Kirti Azad
Dhanbad Congress candidate Kirti Azad

Ashlin Mathew

Let’s begin with your shift from BJP, where you began your career, to the Congress, the party to which your father belonged?

I had exposed corruption in the Delhi District Cricket Association. There has been corruption to the tune of ₹400 crore. It’s not just me who is saying it, even the government records say it. I had warned Arun Jaitley about the same but he didn’t listen to me. I had to ultimately put up a question in Parliament and the minister obliged me with a probe.

It revealed that there was maleficence and 62 counts of accounting standards were violated. PM Narendra Modi has been talking of corruption and making statements such as ‘Na khaoonga, na khaane doonga.’ So, I took those papers to him. Unfortunately, rather than taking any action on it, I was expelled from the party. Obviously, I understood that everything that they had said before the 2014 election was a ‘jumla’. Just like his statements on creating two crore jobs, ensuring an end to black money and depositing ₹15 lakh in the accounts of each person.

Do you think the people of Dhanbad will accept you as a Congress leader?

Well, my father was the Chief Minister of undivided Bihar and I have been raised in a Congress environment. And when I joined the BJP in 1993, I was 34 years old. I had already seen four of my father’s elections, campaigned for him. Basically, what matters is your work. Your slate has to be clean. If your slate is clean, then you are accepted.

Many people fear that if they vote for you, you may go back to the BJP. What are its chances?

There are zero chances of me going back to the BJP. They are a party of ‘jumlas’ and I was extremely disappointed with Narendra Modi. I thought he would do a lot; all that he had promised. But unfortunately, he did not deliver. Rather than discussing about his achievements in these five years, he has been talking about nationalism. Nationalism was discussed by Hitler because he wanted to polarise people against the Jews. The world knows what happened after that.

What is the threat that Modi and the RSS pose to the country?

They are out to divide India. Whoever lives in our country is an Indian and everybody has to be given importance which the Congress has always done. It believes in the unity of India. The BJP believes in dividing the country; I have seen it from inside for these 26 years. The negative point of the RSS is their attempt to communalise India.

But, they have always demonised Muslims, believed that the caste system should continue and that Dalits should continue to do their menial jobs…

That’s exactly what I am saying. They want to communalise the whole country. Under their government, see the rising number of atrocities against the Dalits, see how tribals have been looted, the way the poor have been marginalised, the way the OBCs have not got their due – all this we have seen. Mostly, it is only the industrialists who have benefitted from this government from 2014 onwards. Nobody else.

What is on your manifesto for Dhanbad?

There are plenty of issues. There are challenges here but I like challenges. I feel there are two things that can be immediately done that I will have to fight for. First, the airport. It was to come here but the chance went away. The local MP didn’t push for it in Parliament or with the Civil Aviation Minister, the way I did to get an airport built in my previous constituency - Darbhanga.

There must be an AIIMS allotted here. I’m not sure if another AIIMS will be allotted, but if it is, I will try to bring it to Dhanbad. Several trains have been diverted, the routes have been changed. Several trains from UP, Bihar and West Bengal have been stopped. They are cut off from Dhanbad. So, these are a few challenges.

Then there are the labourers working with Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) and they are in a pitiable condition. There are several who need to be rehabilitated. These are some of the challenges which I intend to take up if I win from here.

I believe I stand a good chance to win as people are extremely unhappy with this government, more so because of the so called ‘double-engine government’. There is anti-incumbency wave against sitting MP PN Singh. I would like to ask him what has he done in the constituency.

Drinking water is a fundamental right and people don’t even have access to that. Power supply is erratic. He must say what he has done for the last five years.

Jharkhand is just about to go to vote. What do you think will be the fate of the BJP and PM Narendra Modi?

The surveys that I have seen show that Modi is faring poorly and that his party is not winning even half the seats he had won in 2014. So, it’s really difficult for him to come back to power.

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