Cong to get just 45 seats, predicts MP NCP chief
MP NCP chief Kalpana Parulekar gives 110 seats to BJP and just 45 to Congindia Updated: Nov 04, 2003 16:39 IST
Firebrand MLA from Mahidpur Kalpana Parulekar, who quit Congress to join the
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and replace Capt Jaipal Singh as its State president, is banking upon the farmers’ vote in the forthcoming election. In an interview to Kumar Shakti Shekhar, she also tries to clear the misunderstanding about her working on Kamal Nath’s agenda.
BJP 110, Cong 45: Parulekar forecast
Q: What is your assessment of the current political situation in the State ahead of the Assembly election?
A: My assessment after touring the State as NCP president for the past two months is that the Congress would be relegated to the third position after the election. But even the BJP, which would be the single largest party, would not get majority. It would have to seek the help of NCP and other Third Front parties to form Government.
Q: What would be the final tally of seats?
A: The BJP would get about 110 seats, the Third Front including independents 55 and the Congress about 45 seats. The NCP’s share would be over 20 seats. The Congress would find itself in a worse situation than it is in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP would get negative votes, otherwise, the party has remained inactive for over four years and its performance in the Vidhan Sabha as the main Opposition party has also left much to be desired.
Q: What is the basis of your optimism?
A: As in previous Assembly elections, the farmers’ vote would prove decisive in the December 1 election. The BJP promised waiver of agricultural loan up to Rs 10,000 in 1990 and won the election. Similarly, the Congress promised free power of up to 5-hp for irrigation and won the election in 1993. The main issues of the NCP would be electricity meter and power crisis. Even Chief Minister Digvijay Singh has waived Rs 800 crore power bill before this election. But he would not get its political mileage because of the delay in announcement. Moreover, the MPSEB has issued a circular stating that the bills of only those farmers would be waived who install meters at their farms. I would not have quit the Congress had the announcement been made earlier.
Q: What would be the other issues of the NCP?
A: We would raise the issues of 28,000 daily wagers getting retrenched, mafia’s involvement in industry, education and mining, bureaucrats running the districts through district planning committees, increasing incidents of rape and deteriorating law and order situation and corruption. The NCP is also speaking against the BJP and its chief ministerial candidate Uma Bharti. She had deserted the cause of daily wage labourers, failed to bring Narmada water to Bhopal and did not take up the professional tax issue.
Q: What would be your election slogan?
A: ‘Bijli nahin to bill nahin’ and ‘Kisan bhaiyon, bhool ke bhi khet par meter nahin lagaein.’ I am promising 14-hour and three-phase 3-hp power at the rate of Rs 50 per month and 5-hp power at Rs 100 per month from October to March during the sowing and harvesting season. The loss would be covered by the Mandi Tax. I am telling the voters that I was jailed for supporting the farmers’ demand of raising the Mandi Tax from 50 paise to Rs 2 about four years ago. The traders went on strike. While I supported the farmers, the BJP backed the traders. I was jailed for a month. Regrettably, the State Government has been pocketing 50 per cent of the money collected through the tax. It has used the fund on repairing roads. Instead of broadening the roads, the Government narrowed down the roads as in the case of Chhatarpur-Khajuraho road. It is leading to accidents every day.
Q: Would the NCP arrive at any pre-poll understanding with any party?
A: We would maintain equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP. During Government formation, we would support only that party which supports our issues.
Q: It is alleged that you are working on the agenda of senior Congress leader Kamal Nath?
A: Had it been true, I would not have alleged that Kamal Nath and Chief Minister Digvijay Singh’s brother and MP Laxman Singh are fleecing the State Government in the supply of electronic meters. They are supplying one meter for Rs 1,150 whereas its cost is Rs 350.
Q: It is also alleged that the CM favoured you by helping your sugar mill in Mahidpur in Ujjain district. How far is it true?
A: I am the director of the Disha Sahkari Sugar Factory, which has 21 directors. The factory was earlier with the State Industries Corporation. I went to jail protesting its privatisation. Due to my agitation, the factory went to the cooperative sector. The State Government has not done any favour but has fulfilled its duty by helping this sick industry, which is still closed. There are several ministers, I would not name them, who purposely declare their industries as sick and pocket the grant, which they get from the Government. Due to my efforts, 600 employees of the factory got VRS of Rs 5.25 crore. The factory has not taken a single penny’s loan from the Government.
Q: You are accused of causing the NCP’s break up. Is it true?
A: Capt Jaipal Singh has become a victim of his own designs. The CM is responsible for breaking the Bahujan Samaj Party as well as the NCP. Moreover, the earlier office-bearers were looting NCP national president Sharad Pawar. He was sending Rs 35,000 per month to the office but there was not even single type-writer in our party office.