Congress’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha and parliamentarian from Guna, Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Saturday that there should be “advance planning” on who will lead the Congress in the 2018 assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh.
The former union minister was responding to questions during an interaction on Facebook Live conducted by news portal The Quint.
Replying to a question on whether he would like to lead the 2018 assembly elections and be the chief ministerial face in Madhya Pradesh, Scindia said he cannot answer hypothetical questions. “Whatever responsibility the party gives me I will take it up and work with 200% commitment,” he said.
‘Politics and elections are not a sprint but a marathon’
He rephrased the question, saying whether there should be a chief ministerial face and advance planning for the assembly elections. “Definitely there should be advance planning…It is imperative… these days politics and elections are not a sprint but a marathon,” he said.
On questions related to revival of the Congress and challenges the party was facing, he said every party does go through a crest of highs and lows. “We have to go back to the grassroots with a new vision and build a new leadership in the states.”
Responding to a question on why the Congress was not as aggressive as the BJP, Scindia said, “Congress believes in being a responsible Opposition. There must be debate but the government has been stalling debate. They (the BJP) just want business to be completed in the House. On the issue of land acquisition legislation, we pushed the government and made it to swallow the humble pie.”
‘We must go forward in UP with confidence’
Asked about Congress contesting elections in Uttar Pradesh on its own, Scindia said, “We must go forward in UP with confidence and put our best foot forward. In 2009, we sent 21 MPs to the Lok Sabha from UP…the Congress has to rebuild not just with alliances but at the grassroots level…Earlier the thinking was that a strong Centre means stronger states but today it is strong states mean a stronger Centre.”
Scindia also questioned the “deafening silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a number of incidents on internal security.
“The PM can respond to attacks in Syria and in other countries, but he doesn’t speak about attacks in India, whether it is attacks on Dalits or the unrest in Kashmir...”
He also questioned the government’s silence on attack of a Muslim youngster in Bhopal recently.
On whether the Congress will facilitate passage of GST, Scindia said, “It depends on the government...the ball is in their court...The GST was our baby, our creation, but it is they (the BJP) who held it back for seven years. Now they have changed its contours… If issues raised by us are not addressed, it will eradicate its benefits”.
“We have three issues — there should be a cap on GST rate, there should be no additional levying of 1 % GST by the intervening states and there should be independent authority for dispute resolution,” he said.
Asked whether his son will join politics, Scindia said he believes in what his father taught him. “My father told me whatever you do, you must give back to your community…your goal should be service…he taught me we should give good education to our children, teach them good values, teach them how to be a good human being…my son is free to do whatever he wants to do.”
About the unrest in Kashmir and his recent speech in Parliament, Scindia said there was a conflict within the government there. It was marriage of convenience between parties with totally different ideologies, he said.
‘There has been an atmosphere of fear in Kashmir’
“There has been an atmosphere of fear in Kashmir in the last 13 to 14 days. But the PM didn’t comment on it and no minister visited the state. I raised the issue in Parliament and I am happy that union home minister Rajnath Singh is visiting the state now…”
Scindia said for peace in Kashmir, the youth in the state have to be provided employment and there should be dialogue with all stakeholders.