'I defended them -- Amit Shah and Narendra Modi -- in over 10,000 national debates, but I never asked for any favour.'
Dr Vyas -- a four-time Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Gujarat's Sidhpur and once a confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi -- quit the BJP last week.
You were considered a confidant of Mr Modi. Didn't he intervene to stop you from quitting the BJP?
I don't think we discuss such matters. Now, Mr Chief Minister has become Mr Prime Minister.
A commoner like me will now not have any access to him given the invincible security around him. I would not blame it (quitting the BJP) on Mr Modi. Personally, I had no business going to the prime minister, or to go to some other minister.
In so many years I have been in public life I have never taken any advantage of my position or my proximity to anybody. Neither are my children in any way connected with anybody who helps them.
Kaam nahi hai toh prime minister toh bohot busy hote hai... kyun tung kare unko (as it is, the prime minister is a busy man; why bother him unnecessarily?)
Did you feel sidelined under the present dispensation of the BJP?
They (tall leaders in the BJP) are not my destiny writers. I believe one doesn't get defeated unless one accepts defeat. So, who are they to sideline me?
I am anchoring a show on prime time (television) with the highest viewership. I am writing columns for five newspapers. I have my own Youtube channel. I am not free; my hands are full.
Currently, I have researched and written a book on the Mazoor Mahajan Sangh (the Textile Labour Association), a labourers' association founded by Mahatma Gandhi, Anusuyaben (Sarabhai) and Shankarlal Banker, which is the only book on this 100-year-old organisation from which the ILO (International Labour Organisation), Geneva, drew quite a few lessons.
My hands are full; I am not idle; if they think they can neglect me then they are too small to do that.
I believe in one authority and that is the authority of God.
Narendra Modi ruthlessly bulldozes obstacles in his way, you had told us in 2012. Did you also meet the same treatment from the Gujarat BJP?
I stayed in the BJP so far because I sincerely believed that the party is doing something useful and being with them could help the people of my constituency. But that's not true anymore.
For Narendra Mod.i I don't think I am even a speck of dust for him.
Even when I was a part of his cabinet I was doing my work and he was doing his work.
I defended them -- Amit Shah and Narendra Modi -- in over 10,000 national debates but I never asked for any favour. I did the job (of defending Shah and Modi) because I was given the brief as the spokesperson of the government.
I did all the tasks assigned to me by my party with utmost honesty, integrity and efficiency.
How do you look at emergence of the AAP in Gujarat which has traditionally been a BJP versus Congress or Congress versus BJP electoral battle?
I would like to wait for some time till both the parties (the BJP and Congress) announce their candidates for the 182 assembly seats and then come to some conclusion about whom the AAP's presence is likely to help and who they are going to harm.
Currently, quoting some surveys, the AAP is claiming that they will form the (next) government (in Gujarat). My best wishes to them.
The BJP has made a mess of their political organisation in the state. The Congress, despite all its successive losses, they still have 32 per cent vote share of all the votes cast.
The present BJP government -- due to the uncontrolled influx of Congress leaders -- have half of their cabinet ministers as former Congressmen who defected to the BJP. They (the BJP) are in a dilemma today about who they should nominate for the 182 seats in Gujarat.
Will they nominate original BJP MLAs who fought against the Congressmen or the defectors who took the BJP past the 100 mark (in the 2017 assembly election the BJP won 99 seats against 66 for the Congress; 11 Congress MLAs later defected to the BJP).
Whoever gets the nomination, one thing is sure that the BJP is fighting the 2022 election in the name of Narendra Modi. The BJP candidates on their own have no USP among their voters.
I told the present state BJP president Chandrakant Paatil that he is nobody to give me a ticket. It is the job of the BJP's Central Parliamentary Board.
But people (the state BJP leadership) are power drunk; cases of corruption have hit the sky; I can clearly see that they (the Gujarat BJP) are confident that the Narendra Modi magic will work.
Modi is the only person who can swing Gujarat voters in a big way. There is no face (in the Gujarat BJP) who can appeal to Gujarat or Gujarati people (except Modi).
There is only one face in the state or nationally and that is Mr Narendra Modi.
And what about the deaths of over 135 people in the hanging bridge collapse in Morbi? What impact will it have on BJP's electoral fortunes?
It will only have a limited impact. I wouldn't say it will have an impact across Saurashtra, but it would have an impact. People (voters) having short memory and get mesmerised by treatment they get from political parties.
The Morbi tragedy is so big that by itself it should have affected the whole of Gujarat, but unfortunately, the media is also fast losing its credibility.
It (the Morbi tragedy) will not affect (the BJP's electoral fortunes) as much as one (the Opposition parties in Gujarat) would wish.