?People are restless?

PTI | By, Purnia
May 05, 2004 03:43 PM IST

BJP nominee from Purnia, Pappu Singh speaks of his estranged ties with Cong.

In an interview with AN Jha, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee from Purnia Lok Sabha constituency, Uday alias Pappu Singh, who recently quit the Congress Party, speaks of his estranged relationship with the Congress and his affiliation with the BJP, which, he says, was not opportunism.

HT Image
HT Image

What were the circumstances that led you to quit the Congress and join the BJP?
The reasons are obvious. The decision of the Congress not to give me ticket left only two options open before me—to contest the election as an independent candidate or on the ticket of some other national party. I chose the latter and am happy that I can do more good for the people here.

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It’s true that your relationship with the district Congress leaders had soured, but did you think you had finally lost the battle?
This question is quite irrelevant now. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Congress had launched a campaign to ruin the area. I always objected to their sinister designs as they did everything for individual gains. So, you can’t say I lost the battle to them. I remained active and am now very near to fulfilling the aspirations of the people.

Did the Congress high command assure you a ticket?
The party high command does not assure anyone for a ticket. However, as far as local sentiments and personal contact with people are concerned, it was a foregone conclusion that the seat would go in my favour.

Then why were you denied a Congress ticket?
I don’t know, but I can say that the denial of ticket has put me in a better position.

Some leaders say a high-level conspiracy against outgoing MP Pappu Yadav brought you so close to the BJP?
It is a non-issue now. I am grateful to the circumstances that brought me so close to the party. People here want change. They are restless and want to get rid of the Yadav, who, they feel, has failed on all fronts.

Now, you are contesting the seat as a BJP nominee, who do you think are your main opponents?
I am keeping a watch on the political scenario here. My opponent may be an independent candidate. If Pappu Yadav is allowed to contest the election, he, too, could be my main opponent.

Don’t you think your hold on the Muslim votes could be affected as you have joined the BJP bandwagon?
They are still with me. Before joining the BJP, I held 22 meetings with the Muslim electorate. It’s only the detractors who are playing foul and trying to confuse the minorities. Within a very short time, a major change will take place and 100 per cent Muslims will cast their votes in my favour.

Do you think your chances of winning have become brighter now?
Obviously, now we are contesting with more strength.

Don’t you think it sends a wrong message to the common people that a seasoned Congress leader like you has become a BJP man?
It will send the right signal among the masses. My affiliation with the BJP has evoked good reaction from all sections of society. My shift in loyalty was by no means opportunism. It was the right decision taken at the right time.

It is said you have been inaccessible to the people of your constituency. Comment.
These allegations are baseless and misleading. For the last two-three years, I have been nursing the constituency. My contact with the people has really improved. I have always been more accessible to the masses than to party leaders. I will never disappoint the people.

Don’t you think your feudal background hampers your temperament and hence your mode of functioning?
Of course, I have a feudal background. However, feudalism is better than corruption and inefficiency. They have eaten into the vitals of our society. Whenever leaders of different political parties fail to fulfill the promises made to the masses, they passed the buck on someone else.

If you win the election, what will be your priorities?
To rid Purnia of criminals, infrastructure development such as good roads, electricity, flood-control measures, good education, better health services, job opportunity for youths, etc. You will be surprised to know that at least 40,000 people from this region are engaged in the business of readymade garments. I have plans to turn Purnia into an industrial town. Frankly, there is immense potential here and it can flourish well.

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