Does your Surat convention threaten the Congress?
Well, we are a very small party. But the Congress is not the 'elder brother' anymore. We are all equal partners in democracy. And it will stay that way for some time. What about allegations that your moves are helping the BJP?
This is an old allegation against me. So far, nothing I have done has helped the BJP. Even those who make these allegations have realised how false they are.
What is your views on the L.K. Advani controversy over M.A. Jinnah?
Calling Jinnah 'secular' is not just a joke but a deliberate move to soften his image. The BJP realises that AB Vajpayee has little left in him now and Ad vani is unacceptable to the allies. The fact that all leaders of the BJP, barring Babulal Gaur and Yashwant Sinha, have supported his comments shows that they have formulated a strategy on this.
But the Congress and other secular allies must take on Advani not just over Jinnah but also over his statement that India and Pakistan should celebrate 150 years of the First War of Independence in 1857. People missed that statement in the din of the Jinnah controversy.
I suggest that this is another attempt to trivialize the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress who started the mass movement that finally got us freedom.
Are you going to raise this issue at your convention?
No, but I would like to point out that the 1857 statement fits in well with the RSS ethos of never having participated in or supported the freedom movement and Mahatma Gandhi. What are your social and economic plans?
We will go by Amartya Sen and push for a pro-reformist agenda with a human face.
What about the Left parties? Won't they get in the way?
Oh, don't worry about them. They do reforms in their own state and oppose it at the Centre. Jyoti Basu was the first to go for privatisation in the country.