Interview of the week
BJP popularity is intact in Madhya Pradesh— Prabhat Jha
Shri Prabhat Jha is president of Madhya Pradesh BJP. After holding the responsibilities of national secretary and political adviser to former party president Shri Rajnath Singh, he was elected first to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh and then state president. Amba Charan Vashishth spoke to him in New Delhi recently. Excerpts:
How did the BJP snatch all the three seats from Congress in this bypoll. What is the trick?
Our oganisational set up in Madhya Pradesh is very strong. The BJP government in the state has provided the most accessible administration to the aam aadmi. It is very alive to the problems of the society and takes initiative on its own to do everything to resolve them within the shortest possible time. Our CM is a very popular person. He is not only the CM, he is now a jannayak in people’s eyes. In MP, we have changed the very course of politics. We made a start by playing positive politics — no dirty politics, no mean competition, no jealousy. This transformed the whole political scenario in the state. Now everybody acknowledges Shri Shivraj Singh as his leader.
Our karyakarta is our trick. In Madhya Pradesh our karyakartas are very dedicated and committed. We won three seats in the by-elections— one Scheduled Tribe constituency, one SC and one general. All these seats had so far been Congress strongholds. Congress stalwarts, both from the State and the Centre, left no stone unturned for party’s success. On our part, we are always on the offensive in our campaign. Now the political situation is entirely changed. Nobody asks who’ll win in 2013. Everybody says in Madhya Pradesh that BJP has now become an established party and moved towards stability in politics.
Normally, in almost every political party the Chief Minister and the organisation head in the state rarely see eye to eye. But in MP both of you enjoy the best of relations. How does it work?
When I reached Bhopal as president I just wanted to see with my own eyes the actual political situation on the ground. I wanted to bring home the message that I am not a deserter who’ll run away from his responsibilities and challenges I am confronted with. I am here to stay. It was also my responsibility to gear up the party cadres to face the challenges. I just started percolating a message loud and clear that I am the state president and Shri Shivraj Chouhan is the CM. It is my moral duty to make the people understand that our leader is only one and he is Shivraj Singh Chouhan. I have just to organise and marshal the party organisation. I organised a Karyakarta Gaurav Divas. More than 2.5 lakh workers joined and all BJP stalwarts were there to send a message that we all are one. Karyakarta is the very spine of any organisation. I always appreciate their work and praise them. Above all is the greatness of Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan who always behaves like a karyakarta.
Since you are again in the State politics, how do you feel the change?
My greatest hobby is sampark— live contact. You send me Bihar and in one week I will be the most well-known person in the State. When in Delhi, I am in touch with people in the State. When in State, I am in live contact with people at the Centre. I don’t work under pressure and influence. Dedication is the greatest thing for me.
Being a journalist and writer, how do you adjust in politics?
At times I feel if I had not been a journalist there would have been no problem for me in politics. Occasionally, I feel the urge to open up my mind and write freely. I do feel at times that in politics and even in my party everything is not always right and whatever is happening in other parties is not always wrong. But, at the same time, I am a committed, disciplined karyakarta and, therefore, I do not prefer to comment. The very nature and duty of a journalist is to comment. Similarly, it is the duty of a committed, devoted karyakarta not to comment. That is the difference between a karyakarta and a journalist. I have come to realise that now I am not a journalist, I am a karyakarta.
You are active both at the State level and at the national level as a Rajya Sabha MP. How do you manage both the functions?
I have a good team in Delhi. Some young journalists are working in my team. A good number of my colleagues assist me in Rajya Sabha work. Under my guidelines they prepare matter I want to raise in Parliament. In politics collectiveness and team work has a great role to play.
In Madhya Pradesh I have a good team. Tatas-Birlas too work and succeed because they have a good team of workers with them. Everybody looks after the work assigned to him. You need enthusiasm.
You continue to be the editor of BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh. How do you manage this responsibility?
We have a good team in Kamal Sandesh. I don’t work in isolation. I always work in a team, as a team. Neither do I encroach upon other’s work nor do I like it from others in my work. Everybody functions like an editor. I give them full freedom. I do exercise overall supervision on the work. I believe in delegating work and power to others. I keep myself powerless, and make others powerful. All are good people. If somebody works, he is likely to commit mistakes. I then take care. I encourage him to make him not to commit mistakes in future.
What is your vision for Madhya Pradesh?
The credit for raising this mammoth party organisation in MP goes both to the late Kushabhau Thakre and Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia. To me it appears, Madhya Pradesh is the first state where the BJP ideology has bloomed to the full on its soil. It is here that BJP has an ideal organisation, ideal team of workers, ideal leaders and, above all, ideal government. Our veteran leaders, Shri Kailash Joshi and Shri Sunderlal Patwa are making a useful contribution in strengthening the organisation. Ambitious progra-mmes like Bitiya Bachao Abhiyan and Balram Sandesh Yatra have been taken in hand. With one motor cycle, two farmers and five villagers our karyakartas will spread out this message to every corner of the State. We have undertaken grass-roots politics. In this way we will make the party’s agenda and message reach the people. And, above all, we are determined to return to power for the third time in succession. It is a challenge for all of us.