By Anindya Banerjee
New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) “Operation Kamal” in Madhya Pradesh does not seem to have ended on March 10 when 22 Congress MLAs left the party for the BJP, thus bringing down the Kamal Nath government in the state.
Since then, at least three more legislators have left the Congress and more are likely to follow, leaving one to wonder whether ‘Op Kamal’ has ended or not. In an interview to IANS, BJP’s state President Vishnu Dutt Sharma said more and more Congress MLAs are feeling “suffocated” and “insecure” in the party and if they leave the Congress and choose the BJP, they will be “welcome”.
He called Kamal Nath’s support for the Ram temple as “Dhoke ke sath chhalava”, apart from discussing the fight between Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath’s sons. Here’s the full interview:
Q: BJP has formed a government in MP after toppling Congress. Yet why does this stream of Congress MLAs continue to jump ship and join the BJP?
A: Look, Congress has lost ‘Janta ka vishwas’. The Congress MLAs are insecure right now. They couldn’t fulfil a single promise and were concerned about their future (of facing the people). This is simply to save themselves (from more embarrassment). They are confident that the promised work can be fulfilled by staying with the BJP. For instance, an MLA from Bara Mehra came and said that the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government helped him push the irrigation project he could not accomplish during the Congress tenure. This is just one example. Please understand, otherwise, no one comes after resigning like this.
Q: So why are you confident that those who are in the process of leaving and may leave the Congress in the near future, will choose the BJP over others?
A: The BJP as a party is not making any efforts (to bring them over). But if some lawmakers come themselves, what can we do? For example, you must remember the instance when the CM spoke about an MLA from Nepa Nagar in Burhanpur district coming to join the BJP. When she came, she was asked to reconsider her decision to join the BJP. But she said she wanted to join the BJP and wanted to resign immediately. The BJP is the world’s largest party that is run on principles. If someone comes to join it, like her, they are welcome.
Q: The Madhya Pradesh Congress, from its official handle posted a tweet after its government fell, asking all to save the tweet and claiming this August 15, Kamal Nath would unfurl the Tricolour as CM. Now, with just a few days left to Independence Day, is that still a possibility?
A: You can gauge it yourself. I will ask Kamal Nath on August 15 about that tweet. I respect him and he is a tall leader. But the mass connect Shivraj Singh Chouhan has is unprecedented. Even when out of power, people of MP considered Chouhan as their leader for his sheer mass connect.
Q: What do you think is ailing the Congress party that is forcing its MLAs to leave, even now?
A: The party in the state is witnessing a battle among the young leadership over who should take over the mantle. Both Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath’s sons are squabbling among themselves for that. The party itself is individualistic, not ideology-centric, and that is the problem. The same can be said about the Congress at the national level where Rahul and Sonia Gandhi are finding it hard to keep the flock together.
Q: Kamal Nath was one of the very first leading Congress leaders who came out on his own to support the Ram temple. Others too are following him. Do you consider it a threat to the BJP’s Hindutva plank?
A: Perception about the Congress cannot change because their history and structure has always been anti-Hindutva and anti-India. The Congress is built on an English mindset. From Nehru to Indira Gandhi, the Congress’s belief system has been similar. Be it Kamal Nath or anyone else, these efforts are “Dhoke ke sath chhalava hai”. So, BJP has no threat whatsoever. It is an unadulterated “chhalava”. People are convinced that India can only progress with RSS thought.
Q: One final question on Jyotiraditya Scindia, before I let you go. Now, he is part of the BJP family. Will the Madhya Pradesh BJP want a Cabinet berth for him in the next Cabinet reshuffle?
A: We don’t comment on such things. The central leadership takes a call on such matters.