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Inside war room, MP marshals son’s campaign

- Jayant was chosen by the party, he is qualified & honest, says Yashwant Sinha

Hazaribagh, April 7: Rishab Vatica, the sprawling ancestral property belonging to Hazaribagh’s first family, is now a high-tech war room.

Father-son duo of Yashwant and Jayant Sinha has roped in six professionals from Delhi, who are working on four computers to collate feedback from across the constituency. Supporters said Sinha Senior wasn’t taking any chances. Hence, he was personally talking to his booth managers from morning.

Son Jayant wouldn’t reveal how and what exactly they were doing. “Just wait… after my victory I will provide all information to you about my war room,” he said.

Working out of his home, about 6km from the district headquarters, Yashwant Sinha is not contesting this time. Yet, the sitting MP is confident the goodwill he enjoys in Hazaribagh will be transferred to his son.

In an interview to The Telegraph, he reveals why he chose to stay away and how his son took his place.

TT: Why aren’t you contesting this time?

Yashwant Sinha: It wasn’t an easy decision to take. But the physical and mental stress that come with fighting an election weighed on me. Secondly, I would have to make promises to the people. Considering my age, it would be extremely difficult to fulfil those promises. That’s why I finally decided against contesting.

But handing over the baton to son Jayant surprised everyone?

Sinha: I had informed the party’s election committee about my decision. On March 13, Rajnath Singh (BJP president) called me and sought a final word. I said, ‘No’ after which Rajnathji asked me to allow Jayant to contest.

It was the party’s decision. I have no role.

Senior BJP leaders in Hazaribagh seem upset at Jayant’s candidature

Sinha: I don’t think so. Only former MP Yadunath Pandey expressed his desire to contest from here. Otherwise, even Loknath Mahto, now contesting on an Ajsu ticket, had never asked for a BJP ticket. Jayant was chosen by the party. Moreover, he is a qualified and honest person

Loknath, who left the party apparently after differences with you, is now with Ajsu and eyeing your traditional voters

Sinha: Loknath and Deo Dayal Kushwaha left the party together. But they believe in the caste politics rather than moving ahead with the party’s ideology. Loknath never worked for me in any election, but still I won. His presence in the fray will not affect Jayant’s prospects

Do you think caste politics might hurt Jayant’s chances?

Sinha: I won from Hazaribagh on developmental issues thrice. My victories set aside all caste politics

Vaishyas, especially the Teli community, are upset with the party after the murder of their leader Tileshwar Sahu

Sinha: I met Sahu’s widow in Ranchi and wrote to the chief minister, seeking a CBI inquiry into his murder. It was after Hemant Soren received my letter that he gave his nod for a CBI probe

Why is Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto contesting from Ranchi while fielding Loknath from Hazaribagh?

Sinha: He is eyeing caste votes, but Kurmis aren’t happy with Sudesh for contesting from Ranchi against Ram Tahal Choudhary (BJP). I never engaged in any kind of caste politics. I have always adhered to some principles, whether as an IAS or as a politician

Any unfinished agenda in your constituency?

Sinha: This is the toughest constituency of the country. People only want to see their basic needs fulfilled. They have nothing to do with my performance in Parliament or as a national leader. Moreover, when elections come, people start complaining. I think it’s complain time for all.

What role will you adopt for yourself after the elections?

Sinha: In Hazaribagh, people regard me as their guardian… a mentor. And I assure them that I will work for them always. So, I told the party that I will be active in politics here… but, the party wants to see me active in national politics.

Last question. Do you think there is a genuine NaMo wave in the Hazaribagh constituency?

Sinha: Yes, I can feel it. The NaMo factor is working here for the last eight months. People have made up their minds to install Narendra Modi as PM after seeing the state of the country under the UPA regime.