MP’s Bhavantar scheme for farmers should be implemented in Rajasthan: Kirori Lal Meena
In an interview, Kirori Lal Meena, who rejoined BJP after a gap of 10 years, says he will act as watchdog to ensure promises made by the Vasundhara Raje government are fulfilledjaipur Updated: Mar 16, 2018 23:11 IST
In a significant political development, two--term MP and five-term MLA Kirori Lal Meena returned to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a gap of nearly 10 years. He was immediately rewarded with a Rajya Sabha seat. The veteran leader, however, claims that he hadn’t made any deals with BJP, which he had left following differences with chief minister Vasundhara Raje. In an interview, Meena says he will act as watchdog to ensure promises made by the state government are fulfilled
What made you return to the BJP after 10 years?
There was no special reason, no conditions, no saudebaazi (deal). Circumstances were such that I had to leave the party. I have an RSS background and my ideology was always with the BJP and that is the main reason for my decision to return.
There were reports that you were also in talks with the Congress. Is that true?
Those were media rumours. I can’t go to the Congress. When I was a student in medical college, then during Emergency, I was jailed and tortured. When I came out, I took up a job before joining BJP and the party gave me a ticket. Dozens of cases were registered against me during the Congress regime. I was again thrown in jail and beaten up when I raised the public interest issues. There is no question of my joining the Congress. The Congress had tried to induct me in 2009 and Sonia Gandhi had offered me a ticket. But I had refused and contested as an independent and won.
In the past 10 years you had attacked the government and the chief minister over a range of issues. These issues remain today. So what has changed?
You are right. Issues will be there. I have always done issue-based politics. I had raised some issues and as a result had to leave the party for 10 years. Even now, I will take up the issues and carry the voice of people from Jaipur to Delhi. This time, the budget has been in public interest. Announcements such as farm loan waiver, relaxation of age limit to 40 years (for certain government jobs), benefits for SC and ST, and infrastructure development projects have been made. A significant project is Rajasthan eastern canal project that will benefit 13 districts. I will ensure that these announcements are implemented on the ground.
Is BJP’s defeat in the recent bypolls an indication that people are unhappy with the state government?
The bypoll defeat was due to anti-establishment factor. It is the government’s responsibility to overcome it. I remain among people so I will also tell the government about what is lacking and what needs to be done.
But farmers are extremely unhappy about a range of issues including not getting minimum support price.
Rs 50,000 farm loans have been waived and steps taken to address the electricity related problems. I will take up remaining problems in Rajya Sabha and also take them up with the union government. I had gone to Madhya Pradesh where they have implemented Bhavantar scheme in which when rates go down below minimum support price, the difference is paid by the state government. This should be implemented in Rajasthan also. I will take it up with the chief minister.
The Congress has alleged that the government has not done much for the past four years and now made a deluge of announcements. What is your opinion?
Congress will level allegations. It’s their work. Today, I read in the papers that recruitment of 15,000 constables will be done by April, earlier it was supposed to be in May. So the government is alert and the organisation is alert that schemes that are in public interest should be implemented before the model of code of conduct comes into play.
You have publically stated that you were not interested in going to Rajya Sabha. Why did your party nominate you for Rajya Sabha?
Even though they have sent me to Rajya Sabha, I have told the chief minister to give me an opportunity to work in Rajasthan also. As a former state party president and someone who has worked a lot in the state, I will be meeting the party cadres to boost their morale and also work to remove factionalism in some parts of the state (organization).
There are talks about you being made a union minister. Is that true?
I don’t know about that. I have set no conditions. If they think it is appropriate and make me a minister, it is good. If not, I don’t have any problems.