GUJARAT ELECTIONS 2017: BJP NO LONGER A CADRE-BASED PARTY, CONGRESS COMMITTED TO DYNASTY, SAYS FORMER CM SHANKERSINH VAGHELA - ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com
29 Nov 2017, 11:55am
Veteran Gujarat politician and former Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela, who has been with both the BJP and Congress in the past and recently floated Jan Vikalp, will fight the Gujarat election for the first time without being aligned with any major political party. In an interview to Vishal Patadiya, he says the rowdy scenes at BJP and Congress headquarters over ticket distribution prove that both the parties believe in self-service and not people's welfare.
You are a veteran politician and have seen several ups and downs. What do you think about the present-day politics in Gujarat?
Political parties have turned into traders. Instead of celebrating festival of election, parties have reduced elections to trade and workers protest over seat distribution. Workers or supporters of leaders facing axe have to abide by the party's decision. The rowdy scenes at BJP and Congress headquarters over ticket distribution prove that both the parties believe in self-service and not people's welfare. Political parties need to stop cheating voters. I would suggest implementation of the primary system prevalent in the US where workers screen and choose their candidate. In India, merit of the candidate does not matter and instead the rich, bahubalis (powerful) and servile flatterers walk away with tickets. BJP is no more a cadre-based party. It has gone the Congress way. Today's BJP lacks discipline. Atal Bihari Vajpayee called for cadrebased mass party but today only the mass has remained. Congress' Gujarat president has to hide himself fearing backlash over ticket distribution while police has to be called at BJP headquarters Kamalam over workers' protest. Congress has to take insurance of its headquarters fearing damage to property by its own. Have workers turned into goons? Where's the Congress of yesteryears or the discipline of Sangh Pariwar in BJP?
How different is Jan Vikalp, which you mentor and head?
Look, my party is just a twomonth- old baby. Yet, we have found the best faces to contest after consulting people. We not only select the candidate, but also elect and select. I have not invited any big or so-called branded names. There was no bickering over tickets in Jan Vikalp. We are the people's party, first and foremost. Several people got in touch with us, willing to be part of the change process.
Will Patidar agitation be a major factor in these elections? What would you say about Congress and PAAS relationship?
How can the Grand Old Party be such a dwarf, I am surprised. How can it be at the mercy of such people? Congress must have selfrespect. As far as Patidar leaders are concerned, I don't think they merit any comments. What started out as a social movement has taken a political turn. I would like to say that it is very difficult to digest fame and money. If Patidar leaders wants to defeat BJP, they must field their candidates and not take help from others (Congress).
What are your comments on Hardik Patel and the alleged CD featuring him?
I don't want to comment on anyone's personal life. But one thing is for sure: no one should be attacked below the belt.
Has Patidar agitation once again made the caste factor an important play in 2017 polls?
A political party or its workers should be above the caste factor. A political party has to work for every citizen, whatever his caste. Same applies to the workers. Jinabhai Darji belonged to tailor community but he was a heavyweight in the Congress.
Bapu, you are 77. You will be fighting elections for the first time without being aligned with any major political party. Has the thought of retirement ever crossed your mind?
Well, I had thought of quitting politics at the age of 70. But because of Saheb's (Modi) entry into Gujarat, I decided to prolong my political career and not quit till he was around. Now that he has left for Delhi, I took retirement from political life. But, yes, I continue to be active in public life and will remain in it till my heart, body and mind permit it.
What advice will you give the new crop of politicians?
When my son Mahendrabhai wanted to join politics, I simply told him the biggest responsibility of leading a political life to serve the poor and work for the benefit of people at large. It has no place for bickering over ticket or post and calling one's own party names if the going is not in your favour.
The new generation thinks politics is only for the corrupt. What will you tell them?
Corruption breeds in every walk of life, including politics. That does not mean everyone is corrupt. People are equally responsible for corruption in public and political life. They don't bat an eyelid before paying a bribe for smallest of things. I would advise the youth to think twice before joining a political party or voting for a particular one. I would advise them not to get swayed by false propaganda.
You have had a long innings in politics. Any regrets?
Yes. My only regret is I could not remain the Chief Minister for the full five-year term. I tried to finish five years' worth of work in just one year. When I stepped down, there was not a single pending file. I introduced several reforms for the first time in India: removing red beacons and flags from VIP cars, no escort, no security beyond a certain number etc. The Lok Darbar (People's Court) in the Sachivalaya was first introduced during my time where people could come and meet their elected representatives without appointment. I had some radical reforms lined up and wanted to set an example of model administration — for the people, of the people.
What do you have to say on Gujarat Model?
One cannot create a model by selling the State. At present, Gujarat has a debt of Rs 2 lakh crore and 40 lakh youths are unemployed.
Source : http://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/cover-story/bjp-no-longer-a-cadre-based-party-cong-commited-to-dynasty/articleshow/61840318.cms