Outgoing Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is preparing for a second innings in politics. He has no regrets, though he has learnt a lot from the drubbing he got in the presidential poll.
No, he is not returning to Rajasthan. He will live in Delhi, tour the country, meet people, MPs and MLAs – all of whom he did not meet for the election but spoke to them on phone.
“No, I am not going back to Rajasthan,” said the 84-year-old leader to the Hindustan Times.
“I will stay in Delhi. Once I move into the 31, Aurangazeb Road house (allotted to him by the government), I will be free to travel. That should be done in a month’s time,” he said.
Does it mean he will return to the BJP? Will he take up the role of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in case he wishes to bow out?
Parrying the question, Shekhawat said there was no bar on his return to politics. “But, I am not looking at things from a political angle. I am looking at ways to spread awareness about issues we raise in Parliament, issues that need immediate attention and the ones that can be better addressed by the people.”
Asked if he will be in the running for the PM’s post, Shekhawat said, “please do not make me a candidate for another post. Now, people are the real candidates in my scheme of things.”
Shekhawat said he had no grudge against anyone for having lost the presidential poll. “I think that it is the first time a presidential election became a matter of public interest... I have got so many letters and phone calls after my defeat. Their expression of support is my strength and encouragement for a new beginning.”
What was the most surprising thing for him in the recent days? “First, people came to me, saying I should contest and later turned cold… You… the media should find out why they abstained when they were keen that I should win,” he said. “Please don’t ask me the names. You find out.”
According to him, the real issues were poverty, corruption, agricultural crisis, foeticide and employment.