News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » News » People Will Ensure BJP Pays For This Murder'

People Will Ensure BJP Pays For This Murder'

April 25, 2024 08:59 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

'This might prove to be a temporary gain for the BJP, but at a huge cost to the people of Gujarat and democracy in India.'

IMAGE: Mukesh Dalal, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, collects his winning certificate in Surat, April 22, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

"The BJP has no answer to our welfare programmes and so they are indulging in such dirty tricks," Gujarat Congress Chief Spokesperson Manish Doshi tells Prasanna D Zore/ after the Surat fiasco in the concluding part of a two-part interview.

How big is Surat's loss a setback for the Congress?

I sincerely accept that it is a loss, but it is a temporary loss. There was an air of gloom among our rank and file for some time.

The saying 'All for the best' will prove true in our case because this loss, which we plan to contest tooth and nail at the Election Commission's door, has re-energised our entire cadre to come together, stop all our infighting, and fight the BJP like we have never fought ever and hand a stunning defeat to them in Gujarat.

Our voters and cadre now know; the people of Gujarat now know how BJP is playing with our democracy and electoral process and they have now vowed that the BJP must be defeated at all cost to save our democracy, our Constitution.

They now know that the BJP has openly murdered democracy in Surat and will ensure that the BJP repents and pays a heavy price for this murder.

The voters are now convinced that the BJP is running away from the people (of Gujarat and that it conspired to win Surat) because the BJP knows that the people of Gujarat now want to talk about unemployment, price rise, farm prices, prices of essentials like cooking gas, women's safety, GDP and not divisive issues that the BJP espouses.

The Congress manifesto has created a novel, unbeatable, narrative that talks about social, political and economic justice by offering partnership to each and every deprived section of Indian society.

The BJP has no answer to our welfare programmes and so they are indulging in such dirty tricks.

With this renewed vigour, as you claim your cadres and rank and file will display now, how many seats will the Congress win in Gujarat?

As I said earlier, we will hand out a stunning defeat to the BJP in Gujarat. We will perform as good as we did in 2004 (contested 25 and won 12 with a 43 per cent vote share; the NCP won 1 and the BJP 14 seats: Source: and 2009 (contested 26 and won 11 with a 43 per cent vote share: Source: Lok Sabha election when Gujarat played its role in helping Congress win a sizeable number of seats in Gujarat and form our government at the Centre.

Who do you think should shoulder the blame for what happened in Surat?

We will undertake a thorough investigation into what has happened in Surat and work out measures to ensure not just that such mistakes are not repeated, but also to rebuild the Congress party with renewed vigour and like this Lok Sabha election, will hand another stunning defeat to the BJP in the 2027 Vidhan Sabha election.

We will have to fix accountability because if we give responsibility, then we will also have to fix the blame on someone. We all are collectively responsible for what happened and we will have learnt our lessons from this mistake if we galvanise our cadre and supporters to work with double josh for the Congress victory.

There are reports suggesting that state Congress chief Shaktisinh Gohil was told by Congress leaders that Nilesh Kumbhani could not be trusted and yet he went ahead with his candidature for Surat...

Let me give you some background about Kumbhani. He emerged as a leader in 2016-17, born out of the Patidar agitation (for reservations) in Gujarat. Since then we gave him a ticket to contest from the Surat Municipal Corporation, which he won, and the Surat Vidhan Sabha, which he lost.

With due respect, let me say this, and I am not saying this as the chief spokesperson of the party but as an ordinary worker of Congress, for the first time, under Shaktibhai's leadership, did the Congress nominate 24 strong and popular faces, who ticked all the right boxes for being Congress workers, to contest the Lok Sabha election.

For the last 15 years I have always been in the forefront of facing the ire of our workers before every election for being neglected for nomination. But this time we did not receive a single complaint from any constituency about the choice of our candidates.

Nilesh Kumbhani was acceptable to all the Congress stakeholders from Surat for being the face of the Patidar agitation in Surat. We stood a huge chance of giving a tough fight to the BJP, but yes in hindsight one can say that it could have been a mistake.

Will the morale of Congress supporters further weaken if Nilesh Kumbhani were to join the BJP as reports suggest?

I will once again remind you that the entire drama is being played out as per the script written by the BJP in threatening our candidates with investigating agencies or enticing them with greed of money and power.

This might prove to be a temporary gain for the BJP, but at a huge cost to the people of Gujarat and democracy in India. This is a blot on the face of Gujarat and the proud people of Gujarat will wipe this blot off by defeating the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

We have full faith that the people of Gujarat will teach BJP an unforgettable lesson this time and give their blessings to the Congress.

Will the BJP's vote share, and seats won, be affected because of the agitation of Rajputs and Kshatriyas against Parshottam Rupala?

Rupalaji did not insult women just from Rajput and Kshatriya community but also of all those who ruled in Gujarat in the past. This includes Bhils, Brahmins, Rajputs, Kshatriyas and other sections which ruled Gujarat at different times.

There could have been no worse humiliation of entire Gujarat's womenfolk than what Rupalaji said in his speech. But then humiliating women, treating them as second class citizens has been in the BJP's DNA forever.

Their politics has always been about heaping insults on women.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024