INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK
Congress might have formed a government in Uttarakhand with the support of three independents and one UKD(P) MLA, but the BJP has not lost its popularity. Organiser representative Ravindra Saini spoke to former Chief Minister Shri BC Khanduri in Dehradun to know the reasons why the BJP lost power in the State. Excerpts:
BJP seemed convinced that the people would like to see it back in power. Why were you so confident?
Yes, I was hopeful of BJP’s winning and forming the government in the State as I tried to deliver a message to the people that my government was able to create a good work environment and it tried its best to meet the expectations of the people. My government initiated different measures to achieve transparency and eradicate corruption in the State. We took so many steps to provide a people friendly government. This was the basis of our confidence.
Contrary to the expectation, the BJP lost power. What was the reason?
Yes, we lost power. It was contrary to our expectation but everyone knows that BJP reached so close to power just one seat away. Many internal reasons are there for BJP’s defeat. When I took over in September 2011, the party felt that the position of the party was not good. I got only 3 months and 14 days to work as Chief Minister before the code of conduct was implemented. The internal problem resulted in the loss of several seats.
There were reports of infighting in the BJP and you are also said to be the victim of conspiracy. What do you say?
I do not want to discuss this matter in the public. In the party forum, I have said something and I have requested the party high command to look into the matter. The high command knows the truth and it will take the action against the conspirators. I think the culture of infighting or conspiracy within the party is a very serious matter and it should not be let go lightly. I think the action will be taken against the party leaders who caused harm to the party.
Are you satisfied with the response of the high command?
There is no question of being satisfied or unsatisfied. Whatever I wanted to say regarding the performance of the party, infighting or conspiracy, I said everything. I am not going to tell all ins and outs to the media.
What do you feel about the party organisation in Uttarakhand? It is also said that the party lost because of its weaknesses?
I have already said that there are several issues which cannot be discussed in the media. But I feel there is certainly need to strengthen the party organisation. The BJP government did several commendable works from 2007 to 2012 but we could not motivate the people properly to vote and support the BJP government. We will look into all weaknesses and try to correct them. It is the duty of all sincere and honest party leaders to strengthen the party organisation to fight against the anti-State policies of the Congress government. We will see how wrong things can be corrected and party can become strong again.
Do you think the people of Uttarakhand will support BJP again?
Certainly. The fact is that the people of Uttarakhand have not rejected the BJP. They very much voted for it. It was the black sheeps within the party who ensured that the party should not return to power. The people of the State have been seeing the drama of the Congress and perhaps they feel that BJP should have formed the government in the interest of the State and its people. People of the State will soon get fed up with this Congress government.
How do you take your own defeat?
I take it as a part of ups and downs in the life. I accept with all humility the decisions of the people of Kotdwar and I would continue to maintain relationship with the people of Kotdwar and try to fulfill the promises made to them to the best of my ability. I am thankful to the party for providing me an opportunity to serve the State as the Chief Minister of the State.
How do you see the future of Congress and the State after seeing the infighting of the Congress?
I express my hope that the new government would be able to provide transparent and clear governance. But the infighting of the Congress is unfortunate for the State. People have started doubting the stability and longevity of the Congress government. Congress has sought support of the BSP, UKD and the independents and personal high ambitions of Congress leaders will certainly hinder the way of progress and development as they will continue pressuring the government for their own interests. People of the State have seen that when Congress has taken so much time in forming its government and managing its MLAs and leaders, how will it be able to provide a stable government. The Congress government is very sad because it sought the support of others without any thought, programme and policies but it is based on individual interests. It will harm the State.
New CM Vijay Bahuguna has said to review the Lokayukta and bring certain changes in it. What do you say?
Whatever they do, it is up to them. Let them do whatever they think is good for them.
Will you contest for the by-election of the Vidhan Sabha or the Lok Sabha?
It is too early. Still I have not decided. We will review the previous status. When the party high command asks me, I will examine it.
What is your strategy now?
I have been watching what is going on in Uttarakhand, looking at the government, looking at the policies and looking at the performance and then as a person who wants Uttarakhand to be a developed State and its welfare, I will see what I can do for the State. I have to wait and watch and then decide my priorities.
It is said Khanduri’s defeat is the defeat of honesty which is not a good indication for democracy. Comment.
I do not think so. Honesty is also rewarded sooner or later. I may be sad at my defeat but if winter comes can spring be far behind. In September 2011, we hoped to win only 7 seats but we rose to 31 seats. It is because of the result of honesty.