Sharad Yadav is one of those prominent leaders of the Lohiyaite politics who are known for their straightforwardness and candour. When Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ended the alliance with the RJD and decided to support the BJP and Modi government, Sharad Yadav took the path of challenging the communal politics and the Modi government instead of going with Nitish Kumar. After parting ways with Janata Dal (U), he formed the Democratic Janata Dal. He is not only confident about the unity of the opposition but also says that this time Modi and his party will have to bite the dust in the Hindi belt. In conversation with Bhasha Singh, Sharad Yadav talked about various relevant issues that the country is now facing:
You have been a witness to and a part of a long phase of Indian politics. The kind of incidents that have been taking place in the present time clearly indicate that there is a strong threat to democracy in India. What is your opinion about this phase of politics?
Not only democracy but the entire Constitution is under threat. There is a threat to all the institutions. The country has never faced such kinds of threats. We should understand that the Constitution of India is the Constitution of a common and shared culture. It in itself is unprecedented that at this time when there is a lot of confusion in all the major institutions -CBI, EC, Reserve Bank, CVC, ED. Conditions have been created in which all these institutions are engaged in the Supreme Court setting aside all their work. The entire government machinery is now working through the Supreme Court. The developments in the CBI have made it clear how horrible and grim the situation is. Both the top officers of the CBI are now in court against each other. The entire system is busy in saving Asthana.
People are saying that both the officers were appointed by them. Now we must consider that both these officers are human beings and Indian citizens. How long will they suffer. Their conscience also pinches them. It can be seen in the case of Manish Kumar Sinha when he dared to go to court and make some serious revelations. He is openly speaking against the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. He is directly saying that the entire PMO, the law secretary and the Cabinet Secretary; that means the entire government is busy is saving Asthana. Now this is all before the public—if the PMO is trying so hard to save him, then why is it so? It is important to know that Asthana is the prime minister’s man. Why is there so much concern for saving a single bureaucrat? Is it because he knows all your sins and wrong doings? Has it ever happened before? Never.
The opposition parties are being intimidated through the CBI...
The Modi government is breaking records in the unfair and unreasonable use of power and power institutions. The Central Government has unleashed all its power to corner all the opposition parties and their leaders. In the last four and a half years that has been their task—to intimidate and threaten all, so as to create an environment of fear and do away with the opposition. It has increased all the more in recent times.
How do you rate the functioning of this government on the economic front?
These people are engrossed in setting an agenda which suits them. Prime Minister Narendra Modi no longer talks about creating crores of jobs every year. He no more talks about bringing black money back from abroad. He doesn’t even talk about development. He doesn’t announce bans, but he imposes GST and pushes our economy 10-15 years back. Today, the situation is such that there’s no section of the country left which is not burdened and wrecked, whether he is a farmer, a Dalit, a tribal, a shopkeeper or a small scale entrepreneur…I have never seen such a phase in Indian history. Except a handful of people, a majority of the masses are distressed and angry.
But the Modi government has been consistent about its claim of ‘Feel Good’. It says that in the Ease of Doing business India is shining.
Who says there is this ‘feel good’ factor around. The public is against them all across the country. People have been expressing their anger. Is the Ease of Doing Business scheme so barren that it’s not generating any employment? Is the business taking place in the skies that we can’t see any employment on the ground? The youth of this country is distressed, desperate and the prime minister of this country is advising them to sell pakoras! Harping on ‘Digital India’, they have ruined the rural population. A rural person is often unable to read and write and yet you have trapped him in a digital maze. Another mechanism has been set to rob the rural person and MGNREGA has been ended. They just keep telling lies all day long, that we have built these many houses and distributed these many stoves! They are the leaders of lies. All programmes and schemes for the poor have been terminated.
Yet how do they win elections?
Even the hooligans win elections. They are now constantly losing the by-elections. The people are now showing their unhappiness and resentment. From Gorakhpur to Kairana and Karnataka, the tide is now reversing. People are now understanding the impact of demonetisation.
And they are using the politics of hatred too…
Our freedom is soaked in blood. Many sacrifices were made for our freedom. Our Constitution was born out of these sacrifices. It is a constitution of living people for living people. It is not for just chanting and worshiping. It is not meant for temple or mosque. Now they have come down to just Hindus and Muslims and when they contest elections they make the castes fight with each other. They are still reaping the benefits of the Partition of India. In fact they are the illegitimate children of the Partition. During our freedom struggle they were literally sitting in the lap of Britishers and they are still busy in sowing and cultivating the harvest of hatred.
The Ram temple is once again being made an issue in a very aggressive manner.
This is not going to work now. The problem is that they are getting exposed now. Besides they have become completely shameless. But understand this-- the wooden pot climbs once, you can cheat once, but not always. But these people have cooked an entire meal in this wooden pot. One should not take the masses to be fools. But well they are trying their level best, that’s their compulsion.
Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government so troubled by the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru?
They know how to divide and make others fight, they do not know how to make people unite. The way they want to create a conflict between Nehru and Sardar Patel, it is shameful. It shows that they do not spare a chance to divide even those people who worked together and had the same beliefs in the past. These two leaders together took part in the freedom struggle. Together they built this nation. Sardar Patel was a leader of the farmers. Gandhi gave him the title ‘Sardar’ because of his participation in the farmers’ movement. Today, the Modi government is destroying the farmers and is building Sardar Patel’s statue instead of worrying about the farmers. The first statue of Patel is there at the Patel Chowk and it did not have to wait for the Modi government to be built.
Will the opposition be able to unite?
What the Modi government is doing, whatever measures they are adopting, it will only strengthen the opposition’s unity. They are affecting everybody. People are also leaving the party one by one, some others must be waiting for the winds to change. We are ready for 2019. There is no dilemma on this. This unity was formed through a process. All the opposition parties have come together to protect the Constitution and the common heritage. There have been seven major events in the last one year to save the constitution. It started on August 17, 2017 from Delhi. After this, events were organised at many places including Indore, Jaipur, Mumbai etc. Opposition is united against the BJP. We had at first come together against the land acquisition bill. We were together in that. Sonia ji and I were leading the unity. This understanding of unity is in place at the national level which can not be broken by the BJP President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Modi whatever means they may use.
Are there any signs of decline in the dominance of the BJP in the Hindi belt?
They came to power from the plains of Ganga and in 2019, they will be shunted out of power from here only. They gained the biggest advantage in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and now you will see their condition in these states. They came to power in 2014 using the issue of development, but as the saying goes- a dog’s tail remains crooked forever, they have again started the game of hatred, Hindu-Muslim, temple and mosque. They have been badly exposed now and have become absolutely shameless too. It has been four and a half years that the Congress lost power but PM Modi still keeps rebuking the Congress in his every speech. Naturally because he has nothing of his own achievement to speak of. He has done nothing for the people of this country. In fact we have to trust the discretion of the public. The people can wipe out the biggest of dictators.