BJP MP from Himachal Pradesh and national president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Shri Anurag Thakur embarked upon a Rashtriya Ekta Yatra from Kolkata on January 12. The yatra will conclude on January 26 with the unfurling of National Flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. In his electoral battle the second-time MP in 2008 created a record by winning with the highest ever margin of victory from Hamirpur parliamentary constituency which sends the highest number of people to the armed forces. Shri Thakur has a very challenging task before him. His resolve has instilled a new sense of enthusiasm and zeal among the youth and ignited in them a spirit of nationalism. Even in the face of threats from J&K government and terrorists, he remains undaunted. “We are determined to achieve our national objective, come what may,” he said. Amba Charan Vashishth interviewed him in New Delhi for Organiser a few days before he left for the Yatra. Excerpts:
What are the highlights of the Rashtriya Ekta Yatra you are starting from January 12?
The Yatra will start from Kolkata, the janmasthali and karamsthali of Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, on January 12, the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. After passing through 11 states and covering 3066.54 kms it will conclude on Republic Day (January 26) at Lal Chowk in Srinagar (Dr Mookerjee’s balidansthali) with the unfurling of the National Flag. On the way, about 150 public meetings will be organised and families of martyrs will be honoured at different places. On January 25, a massive rally will be held in Jammu in which lakhs of youth will participate to display their solidarity with the people of Kashmir, particularly the youth.
What motivated you for this Yatra?
The activities of the separatists and pro-Pakistani elements in Kashmir have posed a great threat to the unity and integrity of India. This motivated me to undertake this yatra to once again assert that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and no power on earth could snatch it from us. Kashmir is not a religious issue. It as much belongs to India as much does India belong to Kashmir.
What is the BJYM demand?
We demand that Article 370 should be abrogated; Armed Forces Special Power Act should be left untouched; the unanimous resolutions passed by the Indian Parliament resolving to get back Pak-occupied Kashmir should be honoured; safe, secure and exploitation free life should be assured to the Kashmiri youth; the Kashmiri Pandits forced to leave Kashmir should be honourably rehabilitated in Kashmir; political and economic discrimination with Jammu and Ladakh regions should end and uniform development of all the three regions is ensured. Word and spirit of the Constitution should be respected while finding any solution.
J&K CM Omar Abdullah has advised your party to abandon the yatra as he thinks it a threat to peace in the State?
I just pity him. He visualises no threat to peace by the activities of separatists and anti-national elements which he dreads to rein in. He finds no threat to peace when Hurriyat leaders openly preach secession and exercise their freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Indian Constitution to challenge the Constitution which recognises J&K as a State of the Indian Union. But he feels threatened by our wish to unfurl the National Flag in Srinagar in a most peaceful manner. Congress-NC government in J&K and UPA government at the Centre extend to secessionists the freedom to preach sedition in any part of India, including Delhi but wish to deny us the freedom to show our respect to the National Flag in Srinagar.
The secessionists have also issued a threat to your yatra. Comment?
I don’t care the least for it. It is for the State and Central government to curb their threats and activities. As nationalists to the core I and my BJYM brethren are going to Srinagar to exercise our constitutional right and perform our legitimate national duty in a most peaceful manner and it is the duty of both the State and the Central governments to provide us security. For this we are ready to make any sacrifice, even our lives to safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. Let the secessionists and government do anything, we are determined to achieve our national objective, come what may.
As BJYM president you are in direct confrontation with the Congress youth wing. How do you see it?
Congress youths are making efforts to bring more and more youth into politics. And this is what I too am doing in my own way. I welcome it as far as this effort is concerned.
According to reports, about half of India’s population, in which more than half are the youth, cannot spend more than Rs 25 a day for their living. I challenge both our Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and Rahul to frame a model family budget for these people so that they can have at least two meals a day.
How do you plan to help the youth of the country?
I wish to provide the youth with a platform to express themselves on the burning problems facing the country and come out with their suggestions to solve them. I think it is only the BJP and BJYM that can provide them such a healthy environment and opportunity to give out their best and to rise on the strength of their merit, intelligence and hard work.