State Congress president Raj Babbar, who reached Agra on Thursday to set the stage for the joint road show of Congress national vice president Rahul Gandhi and chief minister and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday, spoke to Hindustan Times about the forthcoming state elections, alliance with the ruling party and party workers’ demand for his being made deputy CM if the alliance comes to power. Excerpts from the interview:
How do you deal with resentment of party men who were aspiring for tickets but were denied?
This resentment is natural because these leaders were preparing for elections. I interacted with them and fortunately all of them agreed to work for the party. I told them that this was an election to form government in the state and as true Congressmen we had to trust and follow the decision of our leadership. The party workers were convinced. This resentment happens with every alliance but Congress workers are committed.
Congressmen want you to become deputy chief minister if the alliance comes to power.
Congress has already given me enough and for me the biggest thing is ‘respect’ for the grass roots level party worker. This election is not of individuals. An alliance is in fight and we are contesting to form government in the state. For me most important would be respectful status of Congress party workers once we get success in elections but presently our focus is on victory for alliance candidates.
What is your view regarding the union budget?
The budget itself has no ‘view’, then how can I give my view? They have given relief neither to the common man nor farmers who are forced to throw away their produce in the absence of proper price. This government at the centre believes in making promises and leaves the masses waiting for their fulfillment.
Are there any political inferences to be drawn from the Congress national vice president’s remark that he respects BSP president Mayawati ?
Not much should be read into the statement made by our party leader Rahul Gandhi. Anyone is expected to have respect towards another, more so when she is a woman.
Congress was attacking Samajwadi Party with slogan ’27 Saal UP Behaal’. Is it not awkward to ally with them?
Now we are working to make UP ‘khushaal’ (prosperous) despite having separate manifestos, but with a common goal. It does not matter who scores. It is the team which wins. We are contesting the polls with this spirit, with optimism.
With whom are you in contest in this assembly election ?
We are fighting against those who divide the society and we (SP and Congress) are together to stop them from coming to power.