'There are many serious crimes in which powerful and fake babas have been involved in... The states where this is prevalent are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and even Delhi,' CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat tells Neeta Kolhatkar.
It has been over 100 days since rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in Pune.
The Maharashtra government and the police have reportedly given a clean chit to right-wing groups who were suspected to have murdered Dr Dabholkar over his campaign against superstition.
Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Prakash Karat was in Mumbai on Monday to demand arrests in the case.
Karat took time out to speak to Neeta Kolhatkar about Dr Dabholkar's murder and the power equations in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election
What are your views on the Dr Dabholkar case?
It is a shame that it has been over 100 days since Dr Dabholkar was killed. The Maharashtra government says no communal, right-wing, fundamentalist group was responsible.
Dr Dabholkar was a great social reformer and worked hard to bring about the anti-superstition law and was targeted for the same.
When the police and the government do not know who the accused are, how can they give a clean chit to any particular group or people?
This is unacceptable. We will pursue the course that Dr Dabholkar's family would like to adopt, like seeking an SIT (Special Investigation Team).
If they want intervention from the Centre -- like wanting the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to take over the case -- then that too can be pursued.
A decision will have to be taken soon to ensure justice is brought. The current investigations have yielded no results.
You have called for a law similar to the anti-superstition that Dr Dabholkar toiled for to be introduced in Parliament...
There are many serious crimes in which powerful and fake babas have reportedly been involved in.
They have allegedly indulged in crimes like rape, which we saw in Asaram Bapu's case. The girl and her father were put under pressure. The states where this is prevalent are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and even Delhi.
Dr Dabholkar worked hard to eradicate the influence that these fake babas wielded on the common people.
The Maharashtra government has been thinking of introducing a proper anti-superstition Bill, but instead introduced an Ordinance.
If the Maharashtra assembly passes this Bill for introducing a law against superstition, then it can provide a basis for an all-India law, which can be introduced in Parliament.
What are the prospects for a Third Front in the 2014 Lok Sabha election?It is too early for a full-fledged Third Front to be formed. We are talking to like-minded parties and individuals. I can only say that no Congress or BJP-led coalition will fare well or form a government. That is not a reality.
Many non-Congress and non-BJP parties are strong regional parties. Our effort is to seek the cooperation of such parties, especially in post-poll government formation.
Do you think the five-state assembly election results will determine whether Narendra Modi's prime ministerial candidature will be endorsed?
Going by previous experience, in the last assembly elections we saw that although the BJP won four out of the five states, they lost the Parliament elections. There is a vast difference in both elections. You cannot call anything like this an endorsement or such.
What do you think of Rahul Gandhi as a leader?
(Bursts into laughter.) I have nothing to say. All I can say is the Congress party, after nine-and-a-half years as part of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government, is poised to suffer a big defeat.