Dubbed as turncoat of Himachal Pradesh politics, Vijai Singh Mankotia sprang a surprise by patching up with his arch-rival and state Congress president Virbhadra Singh against whom he had been spewing venom for the past five years. Revealing the secret behind the compromise in an interaction with Hindustan Times staff reporter Naresh Thakur, Mankotia said he was a born rebel and would continue to raise his voice if he feels injustice is being done to him or anybody else. Excerpts:
You had been out of politics for the past five years and had even announced retirement. Why this surprise comeback?
I had made a very firm resolution of not participating in active politics but the plight of people of Shahpur made me to change the decision. There was no voice that could highlight the problems of people during this five-year rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). People were totally frustrated by the manner in which the BJP MLA, who is also a cabinet minister was functioning.
She would avoid the situation where agitated people wanted to know that why development has come to a standstill.
She was accessible only to her close confidants and not to common masses. I had represented the constituency five times and have family ties with people. When I heard about the miserable condition of people and saw lack of development in the constituency besides seeing that what I had done was being destroyed, I said No! It is the right time for me to step back.
You were not in the public for the past five years. Why should electors of Shahpur vote for you?
It was actually under pressure of public of Shahpur constituency that I took the decision. Though I had quit politics, scores of them used to come to me and ask me that they want me back. They would request me to change my opinion and majority of them were very keen that I should come back to the Congress if I intend to come back to politics. This just happened. It was almost like divine intervention. It happened all of a sudden but whatever happened has happened for the best.
You are dubbed as turncoat of Himachal politics. It is often said you turn rebel whenever your wish is not fulfilled.
I am a born rebel. My training and teaching that I have had and what you call 'sanskars' I have inherited from my forefathers tell me that you must stand up for truth and must not keep quiet when there is injustice. That is basically my character. Then remaining in the army for 16 years same qualities were ingrained in us that you must never be afraid to speak. You should speak for downtrodden and poor and raise your voice if there is some unfairness or injustice and I will continue to do that.
For more details, read today's edition of Hindustan Times