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'Under Raje, BJP will taste its worst defeat'

November 28, 2018 10:07 IST

'If Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will campaign here, the BJP's defeat will be bigger.'

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi at a rally in Jaipur, October 6, 2018. Photograph: PTI

IMAGE: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi at a rally in Jaipur, October 6, 2018. Photograph: PTI

"Eighty per cent of the people who are with me are actually BJP people. The BJP's political division is a reality in Rajasthan," Ghanshyam Tiwari, who resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party, tells Shikha Shalini.

You have been a six-term MLA, a minister twice. You have been associated with the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) for many years. How did a person of your seniority and standing suddenly decide to leave the BJP and form your own party?

This is not sudden. I have been opposing Vasundhara Raje's government in the assembly and outside of it for the last four years.

There were some issues such as the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2017 through which the Rajasthan government tried to impose censorship on the media, even the police.

The chief minister tried to protect public servants in the state from being investigated. It also barred the media from reporting on accusations of such wrong doings till the government had sanctioned a probe.

She brought the Special Investment Region Bill, that empowers 'designated authorities' to enter any land or building once the state government has declared 'any area of land to be a Special Investment Region'. This was totally against the interests of the farmers.

The Rajasthan government passed the Land Pooling Schemes Bill which was actually an amended Land Acquisition Act passed by the Centre.

In the same way, she passed the Rajasthan Ministers Salaries (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that paved way for the entitlement of a government bungalow, car and other facilities for life to former chief ministers of Rajasthan.

I was fighting against all these things. I continuously fought in the assembly on the issue of unemployment, for farmers' debt waiver and electricity.

I saw that the Centre was not stopping her from doing all this. I felt democracy was in danger and the state government was behaving like a dictatorship.

There was an undeclared emergency. In the end, I thought I should just part company from them.

 

Ghanshyam Tiwari

IMAGE: Ghanshyam Tiwari resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party and floated the Bharat Vahini Party in Rajasthan. Photograph: Kind courtesy Siddharthyit/wikimedia.org

Are you talking about an undeclared Emergency only in Rajasthan or are you pointing towards the Centre?

An undeclared Emergency is in force both in Rajasthan and the Centre.

I will now work against undeclared Emergency in the country and state to ensure that no one tries to strangulate democratic institutions for power.

Is your resentment more against the chief minister than the central leadership and the BJP?

The party in Rajasthan has gone into the chief minister's pocket. And the party people who were associated with ideology and organisation have come with me.

There is a secret agreement in place between the chief minister and BJP President Amit (Anilchandra) Shah. We have formed the Bharat Vahini Party and I am working with my party.

Is your resentment mainly directed against Amit Shah? Or Narendra Modi too?

Now I am not under any leadership. The central leadership is Vasundhara's central leadership.

What is your objection to the Centre?

I will make my objections to the Modi government public at the appropriate time. But right now I can say that there is nothing like a system of the Union Cabinet.

All power has been concentrated in two people, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. There is no internal democracy.

The government's decision of demonetisation was not good for the economy.

Implementation of GST has broken the backbone of businesses. Business centres in Rajasthan are angry with the Modi government.

You voiced your disapproval last time too when Raje formed a government. Is this a policy conflict or personal disagreement?

We have no differences on the personal level. My disagreements are policy-oriented.

I do not like feudalism in democracy. I was associated with the JP (Jayaprakash Narayan) movement. That is why I am fighting to protect democracy.

I fought the Emergency then and I am still fighting.

Raje was involved in controversies like the Lalit Modi 'scam'. There must be a reason why she is still so valuable to the party.

I had written a letter to Amit Shah regarding these allegations. I asked whether there is collusion or they have partnerships, but I have not received any reply yet.

In your opinion, who is going to form the government after the assembly elections?

In Rajasthan, the writing is on the wall: That under the leadership of Raje, the BJP will taste its worst defeat.

Do you see the state heading for a coalition government? What will be your role in it? Will you be neutral or support someone?

Only after election results can we talk about coalition and support. But it is clear that the BJP will not get a majority.

If Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will campaign here, the BJP's defeat will be bigger.

Who are in the Third Front? You will contest how many seats?

For this, we are talking to many people. All non-Congress, non-BJP groups will come together. Together they will create a third front.

Don't you think fighting separately will help the BJP?

Eighty per cent of the people who are with me are actually BJP people. The BJP's political division is a reality in Rajasthan.

When you talk about power and organisation, most of the people of the organisation are with us and the power-hungry people are with them.

How do you rate the chances of the Congress in Rajasthan?

In Rajasthan, the BJP and the Congress government have succeeded each other. In such a situation, the Congress is also hopeful that people who are dissatisfied with Raje will vote for them.

Shikha Shalini
Source: