Today’s BJP is devoid of Atal’s essence: Reoti Raman Singh

Senior leader of the Samajwadi Party (SP) Reoti Raman Singh has seen many ups and downs in his nearly five-decade long political career.
Reoti Raman Singh
Reoti Raman Singh
Published on Apr 09, 2019 03:16 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByHT Correspondent

Senior leader of the Samajwadi Party (SP) Reoti Raman Singh has seen many ups and downs in his nearly five-decade long political career.

He believes that the level of political discourse has touched a new low in recent years.

In an interview to Kenneth John, Singh spoke about deterioration in politics and the missing essence of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Excerpts:

You have seen many highs and lows of Indian politics. What do you think about the present day politics?

Mudslinging has touched a new low. After nearly five decades of my political journey -- which started in 1974 as an MLA from Karchana assembly constituency -- and having been a part of 21-month long Emergency period between 1975 and 1977, nothing even close to what is happening today has occurred ever before. The Prime Minister of this country terms the SP-RLD-BSP alliance as ‘Saraab’ (liquor) which shows his desperation to return to power.

How do you rank Narendra Modi as Prime Minister?

Last five years have been worse than the Emergency imposed during the Indira Gandhi regime. Making 125 crore countrymen go bankrupt in a moment, giving defence manufacturing contracts to tailor-made firms which have no experience, rendering people jobless through demonetisation and spearheading communal agenda for making India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ is actually landing the country in a severe mess.

Do you think the BJP is scared of the alliance between opposition parties?

Yes. The BJP’s nervousness is evident from the PM’s speeches of desperation in which he has been calling names. His lieutenants are also trying hard, and therefore, making mistakes like terming India’s armed forces as ‘Modi ki sena’. But in the absence of a ‘Modi wave’, going will be tough for the BJP. Confidence and sincere efforts, not overconfidence, is required to win elections.

Has the BJP undergone a change?

Former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a statesman who had set standards for Indian politics. The present BJP is devoid of Atal’s essence. Being in power or opposition, Atalji knew how to admire the good in friends as well as adversaries. His contribution is still the backbone of the party and I feel the present dispensation has severely eroded the ‘Atal essence’ to irreparable limits. The recent comment of veteran BJP leader LK Advani that anyone opposing the BJP is not an anti-national is the proof of what I say. Today’s BJP is a one-man show and a two-men party.

Who will be the PM candidate if the alliance succeeds in elections. Is Mulayam a probable candidate?

This question will be answered by the allies once the situation arises though the candidature of Mulayam cannot be ruled out.

Will Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L) prove a spoilsport for the SP-BSP alliance?

PSP-L has a hold in 5-6 constituencies like Etawah, Mainpuri and Kannauj. However, with the BJP having an eye on rift in Yadav family, it may well claim some benefit out of it in other parts of the state.

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