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'The BJP will split in the future'

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Last updated on: May 31, 2018 18:46 IST
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'More people will come out of the BJP. You just wait and watch.'

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with party president Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a meeting at party headquarters in New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

The Bharatiya Janata Party's Nanabhau Patole defeated the Nationalist Congress Party's Praful Patel from the Bhandara-Gondia constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha election by 149,254 votes.

Expressing displeasure over the BJP's stand on the agrarian crisis in Maharashtra, Patole resigned from the Lok Sabha and the BJP last year. He joined the Congress in January.

On Thursday, May 31, 2018, the NCP won the Bhandara-Gondia seat back from the BJP, in a by-election necessitated by Patole's resignation.

"Anyone cursed by farmers will never be able to rule the country," Patole tells Firdaus Ashraf.


Your reaction on the NCP victory in Bhandara-Gondia.

We should have got more votes. Our objection to EVMs still exists.

This vote is against the BJP policies towards farmers, small businessmen and poor people.

You resigned as a BJP MP, citing the Modi government's anti-farmer policies. Do you feel vindicated by the result?

The result is proof of that.

This election was Nana Patole versus the BJP and the people gave their verdict.

What issues bother farmers?

Every day farmers commit suicide.

When you plan to slaughter a goat, the animal fears death.

But in our country farmers do not fear death and commit suicide.

Modi had given assurances to farmers, but he went back on his promises.

Farmers are not getting their rightful dues from the government and instead have to pay from their pockets to buy farm goods.

Therefore, farmers' suicides have increased across India.

Why did you not advise the PM to implement the M S Swaminathan Committee report for farmers when you were in the BJP?

Before (the 2014 Lok Sabha) election, the BJP promised it would implement the Swaminathan Committee report, but after it came to power it filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating it would not implement the Swaminathan Committee report.

The BJP betrayed farmers.

Did you see an anti-Modi wave among farmers before you quit the BJP?

I am myself a farmer.

I see the pain of farmers every day. The BJP has done nothing to ease that pain.

The Modi government has been cursed by farmers.

Anyone cursed by farmers will never be able to rule the country. You don't need to go to a jyotish (astrologer) to know that.

I sat in Parliament to serve the people. If I am unable to do that, what is the point of that chair for me?

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari called you a turncoat.

If my leader (Congress President) Rahul Gandhi tells me to contest against Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur, I will contest against him and defeat him.

If Gadkari has guts, then let him stand against me in the election.

The Congress did not give you a ticket to contest from your own seat. How will it give you a ticket to contest from Nagpur against Gadkari?

I don't want power. I work for the people.

This decision was taken by Rahul Gandhi and (Nationalist Congress Party supremo) Sharad Pawarji and I have no problems with that.

What effect will this by-election result have on the 2019 Lok Sabha election?

Modi has been cursed by farmers.

The same is the case with the (Devendra) Fadnavis government. It too will suffer.

What is the situation in your village as far as farmers are concerned?

There are tankers everywhere.

There is no water for farmers.

The situation for farmers is very scary.

What is happening with Fadnavis' pet irrigation project -- the Jalyukt Shivar scheme under which ponds and aquifers in villages are deepened to improve their retention capacities?

That scheme was created by then chief minister Sudhakarrao Naik. Fadnavis did not change anything from that policy.

The same thing happened with the scholarship programmes for OBCs (Other Backward Classes).

The Fadnavis government opened a department in Mantralaya for that, but they have not given a single scholarship to OBCs.

The BJP only shows off.

I pointed out all these problems to Fadnavis, but he did not do anything.

He only managed the media.

Modi announced 100 schemes after he became PM. Not a single scheme is working on the ground today.

On the other hand, demonetisation and GST (the goods and services tax) have destroyed people's lives forever.

Let Modi tell us which of his schemes has worked well for the people of India.

Did you raise these issues within party fora before quitting the BJP?

It was covered in the newspapers that I had an open fight with Prime Minister Narendra D Modi on all these issues.

I was the first man to warn Modi about the farmers' anger in the country.

I waited for six months to change his policies, but he did not change. Then I had to resign because I am not in politics for power.

I am in politics to serve the people of my country.

You were not a RSS member before you joined the BJP.

Agreed. I did not wear shorts before joining the BJP, but who is Rajendra Gavit (who joined the BJP just before the Palghar by-election) then?

Did he wear shorts?

He won from Palghar on a BJP ticket. He is a former Congressman.

Did any BJP MP stand by you when you spoke out against Modi?

Behind Modi's back they agree with me, but no one in the BJP dares to speak against Modi.

After this defeat, do you feel there will be protests in the BJP against Modi?

The BJP will split in the future.

Yashwant Sinha was the first person to move out.

More people will come out of the BJP. You just wait and watch.

You see what the BJP did to leaders like L K Advani.

In Maharashtra you see what the BJP did to Gopinath Munde and Eknath Khadse.

The BJP does not want people from the Bahujan Samaj.

They have got Peshwai (brahminical rule of the Peshwas) in Maharashtra.

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf /