He is in touch with AAP leaders but yet not there. He is not averse to joining ranks with the BSP either. For now, expelled senior Congress leader Jagmeet Brar is busy mobilising crowds for his rally at Chappar Chiri, which, he says, “will expose the ruling Badals-Amarinder secret pact”, also the main credo of the AAP. In an interview to HT, Brar denies he is drumming up support for AAP but says the party should be politically wise to see those with common cause.
Q: Ever since the huge show of AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal at Maghi mela, you have not stopped singing praises for the party? Why no invite still?
I had called Kejriwal ‘Modern Gandhi’ three years back, when he was not even the Delhi CM. I had met him when he was part of the Anna Hazare movement. The agenda of AAP is to free Punjab of Badals and Amarinder, as the two have a secret pact, to remain in power. My mission is the same. If the AAP leadership is politically wise, it would know we should work together.
Q: Why have you taken up cudgels against Amarinder? What was the provocation?
My political career has been sabotaged by Amarinder. He was never a mass leader, just leader of a few powerful MLAs who are a part of the liquor mafia. He has used them to run the party like his fiefdom in Punjab and build his own image at the cost of the party. My name was bracketed with his for the presidency of the party in 1997. Again in 2007, I was a front-runner for the presidency but Amarinder sabotaged it. He aligned with Badals to get me defeated from the Faridkot Lok Sabha segment twice. The defeats dealt a big blow to my career. I will now show that Amarinder is not a big leader and the Congress will go to number four position, even behind the BSP.
Q: But many see you as a maverick politician who took on his own leaders. Did that not cost you a shot at top positions?
I want to put the record straight. As a MP, I had spoken against the Congress on Operation Bluestar and called it a blunder. I had spoken against Congress MPs Sajjan Kumar and HKL Bhagat whose names figured in 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Sonia Gandhi did not acknowledge my greetings in Parliament after I spoke against Amarinder’s decision to boycott the Khadoor Sahib bypoll. Maybe my outspoken nature cost me top party positions. The party denied me every opportunity that I deserved and never gave me my due. If Congress wanted to rid Amarinder of me like Bajwa, they could have sent me to the Rajya Sabha too.
Q: Why has Kishor’s meeting with you ruffled the feathers of Amarinder?
Kishor could not fathom the history of mistrust between us and my deep wounds. Captain’s coterie feels threatened by me and makes him feel insecure. Maybe Kishor’s intention was to show to Rahul that he can bring unity in Congress, something Amarinder could not achieve.
Q: But why is Bir Devinder Singh too non-committal of joining hands with you?
I was warned that he (Bir Devinder) changes stands. But I went to his home to invite him. His ambition is just to get a ticket to contest. Kishor had promised tickets for all my loyalists. But my fight is against dynastic, corrupt rulers. And after touring nearly 60 constituencies, I can see people wanting change from both.