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February 28, 1998


The Rediff Election Interview/ Sardar Angre

'Ultimately, the Sena's rank and file will merge with the BJP. But today, Thackeray is a necessity for us'

Sardar Angre is the RSS ideologue and Rajmata Vijaye Raje Scindia's confidante. He spoke to Ayaz Memon recently.

Vijayaraje Scindia is contesting an election from a hospital bed. Does this not make it difficult for the BJP during campaigning? How will she explain her programme or policies to voters?

Do you mean to say that she has to give speeches to get elected? Everyone knows who the Rajmata is. The only problem which we may face in Guna is overconfidence and complacency on the part of the workers. Everybody is so sure of her victory that they may just take it easy. We have got 12,000 workers in the constituency, all of them genuine party members and they will ensure that people vote for her.

Rajmata's youngest daughter, Yashodara Raje, was quite keen to contest the election, but she was not allowed to do so. Wouldn't it have been better to have her as a candidate, actively campaigning in the constituency, rather than the mother who is bed-ridden?

There can't be any other Rajmata in Guna, whether it is Yashodara or someone else. What does it mean that she is her daughter? In the BJP, rishtedarbaaji just does not work.

The next candidate from Guna may not necessarily be from the family. I may not agree with Madhavrao's views, but one has to admit that he has worked in the Congress and that is why his voters return him each time to Parliament. Look at Mahatma Gandhi. He never allowed his son to join politics. Children have to come up on their own merit and not because they are somebody's sons or daughters.

But unlike Mahatma Gandhi, the Rajmata wanted Yashodara to get the ticket.

Rajmata has always been subject to the instructions of the party and in the BJP, feudalism does not work though I must accept that people in India are completely feudal. But this dynasty business is absolutely nonsensical. For god's sake, we are not England. If any of the Rajmata's relations come up to her standards or that of any of our MPs, they are welcome to contest, not otherwise.

It is quite difficult to see a second-rung leadership evolving in the BJP. So what happens after leaders like Advani, Vajpayee and Scindia?

There are others who are doing well. There is Kalyan Singh who has redefined politics in UP, Jaswant Singh and also Sunderlal Patwa. And this young man Gopinath Munde is very promising.

The BJP has entered into all sorts of alliances, like Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu, Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. Won't it lose its identity by the end of it all?

You know, in the present political atmosphere, these alliances were mandatory. One has got to walk ten steps with them before deciding what the next step will be. Of course, we have to be very careful with the Shiv Sena. But the rise of the Sena in Maharashtra was inevitable.

The Congress had carried out the policies of the British in Maharashtra, dividing the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins. It used the Marathas, gave them the sugar factories. The Sena has changed all that and the sugar factories are now out of the hands of the Marathas.

The descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, Abhay Raje, who is the Congress candidate, had to give up his control over one such unit. Ultimately, I think the Sena will drop out and its rank and file will merge with the BJP. But today, Bal Thackeray is a necessity for us.

The Rediff Election Interviews

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