The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Rahul like our kids: Rajnath
- BJP chief says dialogue must go on with Congress

New Delhi, Dec. 2: The complete lack of communication between the Congress and the BJP has almost turned the national political scene into a perpetual battle zone. BJP president Rajnath Singh agrees that this is not good for the health of democracy in the country and attempts to lower the temperature in an exclusive interview with The Telegraph.

There is a crisis of communication between the ruling party and the main Opposition party. Are you happy with this'

I am not. Dialogue must not end in democracy. Political differences apart, the ruling party cannot afford to ignore the Opposition. We will oppose the government to the hilt on issues. We will fight the Congress politically. But dialogue must go on. And at the personal level, there is no reason for enmity.

The relations hit a new low when the BJP started making personal attacks on Sonia Gandhi. Will you continue with that, making her foreign origin an electoral issue'

Soniaji has refused to become the Prime Minister. Now I have nothing to say on her foreign origin.

And Rahul' Will you target him because his mother is a foreigner'

I have nothing against Rahul; he is like our children.

The other issue that created the divide is the communalism the BJP is associated with. Do you feel uncomfortable about that'

The BJP is not communal. The Congress ruled for over four decades but could not establish social harmony between Hindus and Muslims. Are we to blame for that' Even the politics of caste and creed is a gift from the Congress.

Your focus is always on emotive issues. You build your campaign on issues born out of the Hindu-Muslim divide. The CD your party brought out in Uttar Pradesh is an example.

And what is the Sachar Committee, secularism' Upturning the court verdict in the Shah Bano case, what was that' What is the indecision about Afzalís hanging' (Mohammed Afzal has been sentenced to death for the December 2001 Parliament attack and his mercy petition awaits a decision by the President.)

What was Gujarat'

None of us appreciates what happened in Gujarat. But you cannot blame a government or a party for that. What happened in Godhra angered people and things went out of control. But we firmly believe violence has no place in politics. No community can be persecuted.

The Hindu religion teaches us Ďvasudhaiva kutumbakamí (the whole world is kin). Talking of cultural nationalism is not violence. People separated from their culture are like kati patang (loose kites). And we raise all issues related to the masses, be it price rise, farmersí problems, national security, etc.

And the Left' Do you think any dialogue is possible with them'

I said dialogue cannot be avoided in a democracy. But the communists neither have faith in democratic values nor in freedom of expression. Nandigram has exposed their real face. The whole country has criticised them.

Nandigram shows violence is a legitimate political tool for the Left. The majority there are Muslims and they have been subjected to extreme torture. Poora daman chakra chal raha hai (Itís downright oppression). And now they are using the Taslima controversy to dilute the Nandigram effect.

Your own party is plagued with factionalism. The Rajasthan and Gujarat chief ministers donít want to take senior leaders along. Even central leaders nurse serious differences.

Dissidence in ruling parties is a global phenomenon. There may be differences of opinion in some states in our party, too, but they will be resolved. As far as the central leaders are concerned, I am surprised by this notion in the media. Every leader has given me full cooperation, be it Arun Jaitley or Venkaiah Naidu or others.

You said at the Lucknow executive that party colleagues should not go to the media to air differences.

That situation has changed. I am satisfied now.

Is Uma Bharti coming into the party'

There is no proposal so far before the parliamentary board, which decides such issues.

The partyís base shrank in Uttar Pradesh where you come from. How do you plan to counter the BSPís growing hold over the upper castes'

It is wrong to believe the BSP has won over the upper castes. It is a temporary phenomenon. The BSPís victory came because everybody wanted the Mulayam government to be voted out. By chance, the BSP appeared to them as a potential winner and they chose the lesser evil. It was more circumstantial than political. People have got rid of a bad government, not chosen a government.

How is the situation now'

Nizam badla hai, halaat nahi badle (the regime has changed, the situation hasnít).

Email This Page