BJP-RSS are taking Indian youth back to 18th century: Paresh Dhanani

The BJP, undoubtedly has won the elections in Guarat for the sixth time but people’s resolutions will be fulfilled only in 2019, says Paresh Dhanani, the Gujarat Congress Opposition leader

Photo Courtesy: Social Media
Photo Courtesy: Social Media


The cow is a part of our cultural identity. The Congress, under Indira Gandhi, had contested elections on the symbol of a cow and its calf, but never made it a political issue. The BJP, undoubtedly has won the elections in Guarat for the sixth time but people’s resolutions will be fulfilled only in the General Elections of 2019, says 41-year-old Paresh Dhanani, the leader of the Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly. Registering a win for the third consecutive time in the state election, Dhanani is considered close to the Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Here is an edited version of an exclusive interview with Paresh Dhanani by National Herald correspondent Vishwadeepak

What will be your priorities in the coming future as a leader of the Opposition in Gujarat State Assembly?

See, for last 22 years, there is a rule of corruption, fear and delusion. During the election campaigning we exposed all these things to a great extent. but whatever has been left, I will do that in the Assembly. There is a strong undercurrent of dissatisfaction in the society, especially in the rural areas, due to the vain policies of the BJP government. An entire population has been left untouched by development. For example, farmers do not get electricity for irrigation, they do not get a reasonable price for their crop. People who are below poverty line do not get any help from the government. Youth who work hard for a living are actually unemployed and the middlemen who are being nurtured with the protection of the BJP are reaping huge benefits. The poor are not getting basic facilities such as medical care or education. If I say in a single sentence then, to raise the issue of people’s troubles and pain would be my utmost priority and that of my Party too.

Did you forsee that the BJP will return to power for the sixth time?

Hope is the key to politics. Although we lost but we succeeded in winning hearts of the people. Delusion, fear and corruption has once again won in the game of mathematical calculation but the fight of perception was won by the Congress. Now our effort would be to strengthen the organisational capabilities of the party not only at village and block level but also at district and city level. We have to make good use of the experiences of senior leaders and take the young leaders along to work for the people of Gujarat. We will do a politics which will be a balanced fusion of enthusiasm and sensibility, that will subsequently oust the BJP from power.

You have mentioned youth repeatedly in conversation. You have become the leader of Opposition when you are just 41. The Congress President Rahul Gandhi too talks about promoting the youth. What is your agenda for promoting youngsters within the party and outside too?

In fact, it’s Rahul Gandhi’s idea to bring the youth at the fore front at every level of the party. He started working on it many years ago. since then he has been trying to promote youngsters within the party. In fact he aims at bringing about a change in the political discourse of the country and this will not happen unless the youth is not given an opportunity to come forward. At every level- from organisation to the social media department, youngsters are being promoted. We will encourage and promote the youth in Gujarat under this policy.

As far as things outside the Congress are concerned, so, we want that every hand should get work and the work should get a deserving remuneration. This is our key mantra. In Gujarat, every year Vibrant Gujarat Summit is celebrated but the reality is that the youth has been ignored the most in the BJP rule. According to an estimate, there are around 50 lakhs unemployed youngsters in Gujarat. During state elections we had raised the issue of unemployment very strongly but the BJP had no clear answers to our queries. Only five industrialists have been empowered and nurtured during the BJP rule while the youth has been wandering completely helpless. The small scale industries and occupations which create employment have been closing down. In contrast to this,our agenda would be that the youth should get loans on lower interest rates and the small and medium level industries which create employment should be encouraged and developed. Everyone should have work and the remuneration should sustain them.

You mentioned illusion, fear and corruption. Pravin Togadia, an old friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the international president of VHP has alleged that a conspiracy to murder him is being hatched?

In the BJP regime, democracy has weakened at every level. Conspiracies have been hatched at every step to weaken and damage democracy. A system based on fear has been at work in this state for last 22 years. Common man’s faith on the system has faded. It is just a sample of this system that a person who had a z+ category of security starts crying during a press conference out of sheer fear.

During election campaign, Rahul Gandhi had said that 80 per cent of the engineers in Gujarat are unemployed. Recently I read a news that the school children in Gujarat were asked to bring a selfie with a cow in the school to celebrate Makar Sankranti. What is your reaction over this education system of Gujarat which is swinging between these two excesses?

The cow is an integral part of the cultural traditions of India. The important question is, what does the BJP want to do with this kind of cultural heritage? What is the BJP’s objective- to save the cows or to reap political benefits out of it, or to draw advantage in the elections by getting people killed in the name of cow?

You may recall that at one point of time cow and a calf were the election symbols of the Congress. But we never made cow a political issue. The BJP and RSS members claim that they want to make India Vishwaguru but the truth is that around 13,000 government schools in Gujarat have closed down during the BJP rule. On the other hand, education has been commercialised at a huge level. It’s a distant dream for a common man to afford a good education for his children. The BJP is imposing 18th century thinking on today’s generation. The BJP and RSS are taking the young generation toward medieval, barbaric thinking.

You have been active in Gujarat political for more than 15 years. You have seen that phase when the phrase of Gujarat model had come in use in media. Can you make us understand what is the reality of Gujarat model?

What is Gujarat model? In fact, it is a model of repeating lies loudly and with all your might. It is a balloon which has been inflated with lies but the reality is, no matter how large the balloon is, one day, it does burst. There are two ways of bursting balloons- either you fill it with too much gas or you puncture it with a pin. In 2017 state elections, the people of Gujarat have punctured the balloon of Gujarat model. The Gujarat model which had deluded the entire country has been punctured in Gujarat itself. It is gradually being deflated. The BJP has regained power on the basis of money and muscle power but its credibility amid the people has completely died out. It is my firm belief that in 2019 general elections, the dreams and promises of the people would be fulfilled.

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