Sachin Pilot: “Countdown for downfall of ‘maharani’ Raje has begun, people angry with BJP misrule”

Rajasthan bypoll results highlight people’s anger towards BJP’s misrule, corruption and policies, asserts the president of Rajasthan Congress Sachin Pilot in an interview with National Herald

Pramod Pushkarna/National Herald
Pramod Pushkarna/National Herald
user

Vishwadeepak

Congress has defeated BJP by a huge margin in the Rajasthan bypolls held for two Lok Sabha seats and one Vidhan Sabha seat. To whom do you credit this win and what are your observations about this victory?

The credit of this win can be given only to the lakhs of Congress party workers. They are the real heroes of our victory. This win is dedicated to all those who have fought strongly against the Vasundhara Raje government.

The Congress has not only won Alwar and Ajmer, but we have won with a huge margin. This point is vital and needs to be asserted because these seats have traditionally belonged to BJP. In Alwar, Congress has registered the win with a difference of 2 lakh votes whereas in Ajmer we have won it with a margin of 84,000 votes. Likewise, we have won Mandalgarh Assembly seat by 12,000 votes. Of course, these results have seen a surge of enthusiasm amongst the Congress cadre. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Congress hadn’t won a single seat from Rajasthan. This win after three years with this huge difference is very special.

Do you see this as a loss for BJP or a win for Congress? Is this win against the Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje or against Narendra Modi?

The result cannot be interpreted in one word. It cannot be said that this result is against Modi government or against BJP as a party or it is against Vasundhra Raje government. I think all these three factors are inter-connected. This is a comprehensive loss for BJP. Of course, if it’s a BJP loss than it is Congress win.

I think these results highlight people’s anger towards BJP’s misrule, corruption and policies against the common citizens. People have seen the Congress rule as well. They would have compared the situation in the state during the previous Congress rule and the current BJP rule before voting. The Raje incumbency factor is also there, her credibility have fallen. They had put in all their might and effort to win the Ajmer elections; she was camping there showcasing the strength of her party. Half of the state cabinet was campaigning in Ajmer, but the people have seen through them.

There is talk in the BJP circles that there is no need to speculate on these results. They have been claiming that it is only due to the anti-incumbency against the Raje government. In fact, a recent survey has claimed that if elections are held now, BJP will still come to power. What is your opinion?

Countdown for the downfall of ‘maharani’ Vasundhara Raje has begun. Let the BJP members say whatever they want. After all, are not the bypoll results indicative enough? Aren’t they results? The point is that not only the Modi government, but also the state government has been unsuccessful on every issue- whether it is the matter of farmers, unemployment, or corruption. People haven’t forgotten Lalitgate. The economic woes have only risen. Above all, BJP is a divisive force, in the name of religion and caste. If one has to say it in a sentence, it will be that the BJP government is against its own. In such a situation, what do these results mean—you can guess it on your own.

The Congress has not only won Alwar and Ajmer, but we have won with a huge margin. This point is vital and needs to be asserted because these seats have traditionally belonged to BJP... In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Congress hadn’t won a single seat from Rajasthan. This win after three years with this huge difference is very special.

You are the president of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee, so tell us that if elections are declared now, is Congress ready for it?

Our party is fully prepared for elections. I have said that in each and every rally in Ajmer and Alwar that we have to give a new year gift to our Congress president Rahul Gandhi. I am happy that people have kept their word. We have succeeded in giving the gift of victory to Rahul ji. We are ready to fight elections under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and he has already constituted his team.

You say that Congress is ready for elections, but your critics says that there are two groups within the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress. One group supports Ashok Gehlot and the other, you. So, how can one expect complete support of the party workers within the Congress to fight elections?

I want to say it very clearly and louder that there are no groups within the Congress party. If there is any group in the Congress, it is that of Rahul Gandhi. There is one and only camp in our party and that that is the Rahul Gandhi camp. We are all part of that camp. If there was so much groupism within the Congress, then how could we have worked together to garner this victory in bypolls? This is nothing but propaganda spread by BJP. Ashok Gehlotji, CP Joshi — we all have worked hard for the Congress party.

Let’s talk on one probability. You are young, dynamic. Will Congress party fight the elections with your face or will it follow the traditional process?

There is a tradition where all the MLAs come together after a win and then the Chief Minister is chosen in that meeting. As far as I’m concerned, I have been an MP for 10 years. I have been a minister with the UPA government. At the age of 35, the party has made me the President of Rajasthan Pradesh. Not only me, but everyone gets such opportunities. Ashok Gehlotji has served as the Chief Minister of tehstate twice. He has been a Central minister too. Likewise, Joshiji served as the Railway minister too. The Party has given us a lot of opportunities. According to me, what the Party will give us is not the question, but what we will give the party? A lot has been given by the party to us, now it is our turn to serve the party.

What will be your strategy in the upcoming elections? What will be the issues that you focus on?

Our strategy will be focused on the issues of the people. Under the leadership of Rahul ji, we will fight the election on the issues of farmers, price rise, unemployment and corruption.

Rahul Gandhi has campaigned aggressively against BJP during Gujarat elections. Looking at his style, it seemed that visiting temples was a part of his strategy. Will Rahul in Rajasthan, as his critics say, use ‘temple politics’ and ‘soft Hindutva’?

It is hilarious that when Rahulji visits temples, it becomes a problem for BJP. I am asking that why does the BJP have a problem when Rahul Gandhi visits a temple? Wherever one goes, temple, mosques, gurudwara, what difference does it make? This is everyone’s constitutional right. But the BJP wants to change the constitution. They have problem because their veil of fake orthodoxy is exposed when Rahul ji visits a temple. In the name of a great religion, the veil they have put on is being torn off, that is why they are afraid.

These days, one nation, one election is a burning issue. If the Modi government declares simultaneous elections and Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha Elections are conducted together, will it benefit the Congress?

Declaring the election is undoubtedly in government’s hand but conducting elections of Lok Sabha and all Vidhan Sabhas together is against the Constitution. They were not able to conduct elections of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat simultaneously, how come they will conduct simultaneous elections all over the country. They have not been able to conduct bypoll elections together. There has been bypoll in Rajasthan, but the bypoll has to yet to take place in UP, Maharashtra. How will this happen? The main fact is that BJP wants to be in the government at any cost even if they had to uproot the Constitution. Even if simultaneous elections are conducted in the country, I am sure that the people of nation will make the Congress party victorious.

Why do you think that the Congress will win? What makes you say that?

Please do not connect it with the Party’s victory. In fact, this will be victory of the people. People now want to be free from the mis-governance of the BJP and the rule of fear. There is an environment of fear and corruption everywhere in the country. My party and I are fully prepared to fight elections. We will defeat the BJP in the election.

The truth is that we never did politics of caste, community or religion. We do not do politics of dividing the society. From farmers’ crises to the issue of mob lynching—we have challenged the BJP every where from streets to the parliament. We will continue doing that

Will you take the help of other parties in defeating the BJP? In case of Rajasthan, for example, the disgruntled BJP leader, Ghanshyam Tiwari has often been speaking against Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Vasundhara Raje. Once when I asked him if he would join hands with the Congress, he answered that this decision would be taken during the elections. So, will the Congress join hands with the leaders such as Ghanshyam Tiwari?

Ghanshyam Tiwari is a respected leader of the province. He is also a member of the BJP. Whenever we meet, we greet each other warmly. But we have not talked about this before. But I believe, during elections, nobody will have any problems in joining hands with like-minded people. Whoever has faith in the ideology of the Congress and Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, is welcome. But one thing should not be forgotten—that there will be a strong fight between the Congress and the BJP. Therefore, there is no scope for a third party or front.

The BJP always accuses the Congress for indulging in the politics of minorities. During Gujarat elections, it was being said that the Congress did a politics of soft-Hindutva and did not raise the concerns of the minorities strongly.

All these things are baseless. The BJP has always been indulging in such negative propaganda. The truth is that we never did politics of caste, community or religion. We do not do politics of dividing the society. From farmers’ crises to the issue of mob lynching—we have challenged the BJP every where from streets to the parliament. We will continue doing that.

You have not been frequently in the political corridors of Delhi. Why?

I am accountable to the people. I do politics from the streets related to the common man. Therefore, I am not seen very often in the corridors of political power. I have an emotional connect with the people of Rajasthan. I live among them, raise their issues and concerns and work with them so that they can feel that someone is there who can act as a voice of their pain and problems. The people of Rajasthan have now started realising that the Congress party pays attention to their concerns. This is my achievement. The noise and lies of the BJP will be defeated by this voice only.

Finally, how do you evaluate the tenure of the Modi government? And how do you evaluate Modi as the prime minister?

See, Modiji is our Prime Minister. People of this country have elected him. So I respect him. But the way he tells lies and with what confidence he does that is beyond imagination. His government is about to complete four years in power and he has not fulfilled any of his promises- whether it was creating 2 crore job opportunities or depositing ₹15 lakhs in every bank account or the promise of development. All his promises have proved to be just jumlas. Rahul ji had rightly remarked that this is the suit-boot government. You can add one more sentence in this- this is a government of jumlas. They are used continuously by the government.

Translated from Hindi by Pragati Saxena and Zaheeb Ajmal

Click here to join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines


Published: 05 Feb 2018, 6:03 PM