Veteran Congress leader Birender Singh’s switch over to the BJP now seems to be a matter of time. HT spoke to the senior Jat leader on his future plans and reasons behind ending his long innings with the Congress. Excerpts:
HT: There are reports that you are ending ties with the Congress and may join BJP anytime soon?
Birender: I neither deny the reports nor acknowledge them, but yes I am serious about taking a final decision in this regard.
You were known for speaking up your mind. But this time, you are not clearing air on the issue?
I had clearly said in the workers meeting at Ucchana on Thursday that whatever they would say, I would abide by their decision.
What are the sentiments of your workers and supporters?
Most of them want me to join BJP. Some of them have promised to back me throughout.
So, when the formal announcement regarding this can be made?
Yuva Shakti—Badlav ki Ore — a youth’s organisation has invited me and BJP national president Amit Shah on August 18 for an event. I have decided to gather 5-lakh people on that day and hope something positive comes out on that day.
What about Congress?
Before making formal announcement, I would write a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the reasons of ending my four decade association in which I would explain biases and injustices done by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda with me and the electorate in the last 9 years.
Do not you think, you could have been in better position, if you had quit Congress party 6-7 months ago, when you were sidelined by party for a cabinet rank post at the eleventh hour allegedly at the behest of Hooda?
It was a really sad moment for me that despite being informed by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh that I was chosen for the cabinet rank minister, I was sidelined by my own cousin (Hooda). But I remained calm I did not want people to give a chance to say that Birender defected because he was not made union minister.
Should we expect some other Congress leaders sharing stage with Shah and you on August 18?
Let it be a suspense till that day. Let people witness the historic moment.
Senior Ahir leader from Southern Haryana Rao Inderjit Singh, former MLA Dharambir from Bhiwani have already left Congress and now you are in queue. What would be the fate of Congress?
It was bound to happen as chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda did not listen to anyone in the last 9 years and now leaders are reciprocating the same. I claim that Congress cannot touch double figure in Haryana under the current conditions.