'NDA allies have realised that if they don't dump the BJP, then the people will dump their party in the 2019 elections.'
'The people's mood is against the BJP.'
IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra D Modi, left, with Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit A Shah.
After tasting victory in the recent Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha by-election with the Bahujan Samaj Party's support, the Samajwadi Party is now reaching out to the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav deputed party Vice-President Kiranmoy Nanda to call on RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in Ranchi jail, setting off speculation that a grand political alliance is taking shape against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Hindi heartland.
Calling his proposed visit on March 24 a 'courtesy call', Nanda tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf, "Only after the elections we will come together."
Why do you plan to meet Lalu Prasad Yadav in jail?
It is a courtesy call as Laluji is lodged in jail and we support the RJD (politically).
What is your agenda behind meeting him? Opposition unity?
He is our leader. And not from today, but for a very long time.
He has always fought against the BJP and today he is in jail.
I wanted to congratulate him after his party won the recent by-election in Araria, Bihar.
(Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish (Kumar) backstabbed him and went to the BJP camp.
There are 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, 41 seats in Bihar and 42 in West Bengal.
The total comes to 163 seats. And if we (the Opposition) fight together, then we will easily win more than 130 seats.
Is it possible for all the Opposition parties to come together to fight the BJP? And if this happens, won't India have a khichdi sarkar?
Khichdi sarkar will be better than Modi sarkar.
This government has disturbed communal harmony in the country.
Have the UP by-election results given the Opposition hope?
People want the BJP out of power.
They want to vote for those parties who are powerful against the BJP.
Right now the consolidation of SP-BSP voters took place in Phulpur and Gorakhpur.
They got many more votes than the BJP and this kind of consolidation will happen before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
BJP leaders allege corrupt political parties are joining hands to defeat the BJP.
The BJP is the biggest corrupt party.
Nirav Modi ran away by looting Indian banks during BJP rule.
He was seen with PM Modi in Davos. Don't you know this?
How did Vijay Mallya run away?
He too ran away during the Modi government's rule. And what about the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh?
But Prime Minister Modi's image is very clean. You can't deny that.
These corruption allegations are not being made personally against Modi. I am talking about the Modi government.
The RJD and the SP fought the 2015 Bihar assembly election separately. Now you are planning to join hands. Isn't this political opportunism?
At that time Laluji and Nitishji were together, so we fought separately.
Now the political situation has changed.
In 1977, the then Jan Sangh (now the BJP) and we were together to fight the Congress party.
In the same way, everyone is coming together today to fight the BJP in 2019.
We need to maintain communal harmony in the country.
India is for people of every faith.
The BJP wants to break the country in the name of religion, and we want to keep the country united.
This is political opportunism more than ideological unity.
The unity of the country and the Constitution of the country need to be strengthened.
The BJP wants to divide the nation in the name of religion.
The Third Front is...
(interrupts) This will happen only after the elections.
In West Bengal there is the TMC (Trinamool Congress) of Mamata Banerjee. In Bihar there is Lalu Prasad Yadav of the RJD.
In Andhra Pradesh there is Chandrababu Naidu. In Telangana there is TRS (the Telangana Rashtriya Samithi).
In Uttar Pradesh there is Akhilesh Yadav and the BSP.
Only after the elections we will come together.
You need to have the Congress' support if you want to form the government, isn't it?
Yes. They are powerful in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states like Karnataka.
We are not saying we will do anything without the Congress party.
Again, it will be a khichdi sarkar.
The Modi government too is a khichdi sarkar.
This is not a BJP government, but an NDA government.
All its allies are now leaving the BJP and coming out of the government.
The BJP may have a majority, but other parties are part of the NDA.
So, the Modi sarkar is also a khichdi sarkar.
Why do you think NDA partners are unhappy, with some like the Telugu Desam Party leaving the BJP?
It is because of BJP policies.
NDA allies have realised that if they do not dump the BJP, then the people will dump their party in the 2019 elections. The people's mood is against the BJP.
Is this why Ram Vilas Paswan is hinting that he too may get out of the NDA?
You just wait for some time. You will see that the BJP will be the only party left in the NDA.
You will see this before the 2019 elections.
In Uttar Pradesh, one of the BJP's alliance partners, Om Prakash Rajbhar (of the Suhaildev Bharatiya Samaj Party) has made statements against it.
Everywhere the BJP has only one agenda -- that they alone must rule India.
And if this happens, then nobody can raise questions about their corruption.
This government is the most communal government in the history of India.
Communal riots occurred earlier in India. So why blame the BJP alone?
BJP MPs are openly saying that Muslims must go to Pakistan.
Don't you think that the Opposition parties are getting over overconfident about victory in 2019 after victories in just two Lok Sabha seats in UP and one seat in Bihar?
Gorakhpur and Phulpur are not ordinary constituencies.
They are the constituencies of the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (Yogi Adityanath) and the deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (Keshav Prasad Maurya).
In 2014, the BJP won Gorakhpur by more than 3 lakh votes.
So when people say we won only by 24,000 votes in Gorakhpur, then that is not the true picture.
We covered the lead of the BJP -- which was 3 lakh votes -- and then won by 24,000 votes.
Is that the reason you feel confident of an Opposition victory in 2019?
In the last four years, the BJP has lost every Lok Sabha by-election. Be it in West Bengal, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh or Bihar.