National Vice President of the BJP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, in a candid interview to Rajya Sabha TV, has said that all talks of the plurality by the Congress are a hogwash. Slamming the Congress for having a hegemonic rule for all these years, he accused the party of dividing the society on the basis of left and right ideologies.
Clarifying the stand of the government, the senior BJP leader said that the central government was working for all communities and the party believed in the unity and integrity of all sections of the society.
On being asked if BJP was redefining patriotism and nationalism after 70 years of independence, Sahasrabuddhe said that there was no need to redefine nationalism and that the Congress was making it a plank for its political opportunities.
Coming down heavily on the Left Democratic government in Kerala , Sahasrabuddhe said that Kerala had become a killing field. He accused the Left of carrying out murderous politics. The political scholar of the BJP said that RSS killings will not be taken lightly and that the party will take up the issue aggressively in all spheres.
Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:
On the eve of VP elections, PM made a very important statement when he drew a parallel between two eras, one 1942-47 and the other between 2017-22. He said that these two eras can be compared in a sense that the nation saw a lot of transformation. The PM also mentioned that now at all important constitutional posts, there are people from the same family and same tradition. Does it indicate any kind of dominance of particular ideology?
Yes of course. In a democracy, there is always a surge for alternative ideologies and alternative policies and alternative theories. This nation has faced a dominance or a hegemony of Congress rule for many years initially. Then we had a dawn of Opposition in 1977 initially, after that we have seen many opposition parties including the government of Vajpayee. But at no point of time, in this period of time, had we a regime where we had the top five constitutional positions which belonged to one single non-congress group of family or ideology. Here for the first time, it is happening. For example, in 1977, we had Morajee Desai government, but then President and Vice President didn’t belong to Janata Dal or Janata Parivaar. Same thing happened with V P Singh who was the non-congress Prime Minister of our country and then we had a brief stint of Mr Deve Gowda, Inder Kumar Gujral. Several opposition parties coming together and sharing their own slice in the pie. Then we had Atal ji’s government, although Mr A P J Abdul Kalam, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. All were naturally the choices of BJP that point in time. But then A P J Abdul Kalam was beyond the ideological fault lines.
Since BJP government has come to power in 2014, there is an ongoing debate between majoritarianism and minoritism. Coming as it does, all the parties talk about the fact that India is a multi lingual country, India is a multi cultural country. They talk about the multiculturality. Do you also believe with certain voices, that the society is heading to a binary, where you have a Left and you have a Right? I would like to know from you that, is there any scope of neutral voice at the moment?
In India, we have always believed in all flowers bloom. So all colours are welcomed. I don’t see a binary for that matter. In fact, there are multiple shades of opinion. Why should one be saying that you are either Left or Right. Dividing people on this ground is irrelevant and erroneous. It is totally meaningless I say. The Indian democracy has its origin in the spiritual democracy that we have been practising for many years. It is not something new to us. It is not by Britishers who left us in 1947. Much before that, this country was known for spiritual democracy, “Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudha Vadanti”. The ultimate truth is one, but we describe it in multiple fashions. And those who are wiser people they call it by different names. That is why we have welcomed all from abroad. We are supporting pluralism. No one from abroad can teach us democracy. We believe in unity in diversity. Democracy is what we believe in. Democracy is manifest of social unity.
The way the opposition has taken up the matter of ideological intolerance for the last two years, obviously it has not given them any political dividend. BJP has always been in the forefront. It does force people to discuss and deliberate on these issues. What would you tell to the Opposition at present?
The national discourse picks up a particular thread and moves along. And when BJP is in power, people talk more about pluralism because of the one-time sowing of the seeds of mistrust about BJP by the opposition parties and by some people. The history of BJP tells us, BJP was in power in Karnataka, BJP has been in power in Goa, BJP is a part of the government in Nagaland, BJP was in power in Meghalaya, in Arunachal Pradesh we are the ruling party, were there any problems? People with selfish, narrow and irrepressible political aims…why are they silent about things that are happening in Kerala. Few Dalits who were carrying BJP flags, is it a crime in our country? And you (opposition) talk about pluralism, isn’t it an irony.
You raised the question in Rajya Sabha about the RSS killing in Kerala. This is not a new phenomenon, it has been happening for quite a long time. Did this situation occur because of ideological tolerance or is it the political desperation of the CPI (M) government?
This question should be addressed to CPI (M). They are presiding over there. Our Finance Minister has clearly pointed out that whenever this democratic Left government is in power these murderous situations occur there. They should answer about the intolerance. Even the CM has on record said that not all the killings were unnecessary. What kind of a statement is that and you come to Parliament and teach about pluralism?
Talking about the larger battle of 2019, the way BJP is increasing its footprints in impenetrable states like Odisha, Kerala, West Bengal…BJP seems to be working over time?
Every political party should try their best to penetrate in every nook and corner of our country. Because the political parties are here to seek power and mandate. So they have to put their footprint in every part of the country. Now the people of India know the importance of BJP and they have full faith in our PM. BJP is working very hard to make a mark in every state.
Talking about the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, what does the battle look like to you at this moment because the opposition is completely demotivated, dismantled and don’t have the narrative to counter the BJP?
In politics, we never take elections as a cake walk. People may have their own calculations. We take every election as a challenge. We don’t take elections lightly, we fight effectively. Our homework is done correctly and we do the ground work thoroughly. Therefore we are seeking a great mandate from the people. Yes, it is true that the opposition is disarrayed and they are looking for chances to blame BJP for things but they are not getting any faults of BJP because of the good governance of our PM Modi ji.
What is that one improbable magical weapon you think the Congress has, to come back and fight against the ruling government?
We have never taken any elections lightly. We have done our homework properly. We are prepared for the elections of 2019. The opposition is clever, they can do anything to make various strategies to hit back at the BJP. One thing is sure that the opposition has lost its credibility. When we talk about politics of performance, they just have politics of vote banks. All their political strategy and planning is around the vote banks. Vote bank politics are almost in vain because people are more aware of it now. Now Congress has to work out fresh tactics to bounce back, but then, I am sure that people of India are smart enough to choose their right leader. They would back Modi ji for his effective leadership.
You talk about vote bank politics, now almost all regional parties are obliterated…What is their future?
If you scan through history, all the political parties in India, and there are 1600 plus political parties in India, only 50 parties matter. They have some representation in the Assembly or in Parliament.
Your ally TDP, one of the leaders did say that with the kind of inroads BJP was making in southern states, will there be friendly fights with your allies?
I don’t think so. In political history, BJP has proved itself by maintaining the coalition and its respective relations. I do agree that there is some tension between BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharastra, but an enduring alliance continues. There is no break in that. What happened in Bihar…JDU had to believe in BJP. Nitish Kumar has faith in BJP for better governance. For example, Assam Gana Parishad, we have a long history of association with the AGP, and even with all our alliances. All our allies are our friends. We believe in harmony and mutuality. When one ally grows stronger, we do see them and continue working. For example, in the late 90s, we saw Shiv Sena grow very powerful. They did well in Mumbai municipal elections as well, that time we did sacrifice some of our seats in Lok Sabha.
With Nitish Kumar joining BJP …is there is a feeling that the BJP has already bagged the 2019 elections…
I think it’s very simplistic conclusions, I won’t indulge myself. One who wants to go for development and progress, BJP is their only hope. BJP has become a pursuing point for all.
70 years of Independence, BJP is at its peak time, Congress is almost at its lowest mark, looking purely at the symbols, how would you really see this divide?
Political parties are formed for a particular cause. Three things that go with a political parties, ideology, organisation and leadership. In Congress, unfortunately, I see a complete bankruptcy in all these three accounts. In terms of ideology which has no focus, in terms of organisation is concerned it is in bad shape and in terms of leadership, their choice of dynastic leadership has narrowed their chance of a good leadership. If they would not have gone for dynastic politics they would have had a fair chance of better leadership. Why do you think that Sharad Pawar has deserted the Congress? It is because he saw no future for his political career in the late 90s. And that is why leaders are deserting Congress. I believe that Congress had its innings and this is inspirational India we are witnessing so BJP is the one.