BJP does not own the NDA, says Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena MP and Saamana executive editor Sanjay Raut says Sena is a founding member of the NDA and a responsible political ally that will continue to speak out against the government when it feels necessary.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai | Published: April 17, 2018 4:18:28 am
Sanjay Raut interview Sanjay Raut at the Saamana office. (Nirmal Harindran)

The second half of the budget session of Parliament was a washout. The Congress and the BJP have traded charges on who is responsible. What do you say?

Not just the second half but the entire session was a washout from the first day. Business was conducted for a few days but it wasn’t legislative business, for example, 56 Rajya Sabha MPs retiring. We call Parliament a temple of democracy, then it is the responsibility of the Opposition as well as the ruling party to maintain its sanctity. When we were in the Opposition, we too stalled Parliament on various issues ranging from Bofors to 2G. We can’t forget that. Modi wasn’t in Delhi then. It happens in democracy but one shouldn’t cross the limit. When that happens, the ruling party is supposed to go back one step or come forward two steps. Otherwise there is no meaning to the temple of democracy. Like a rape was committed inside a temple in Jammu & Kashmir, similarly rapes are being perpetrated inside the temple of democracy. By forcefully creating terror and not allowing Parliament to function is also a rape, a rape on democracy. As the ruling party is the trustee of the temple, they are expected to behave responsibly.

The government has to take the responsibility of running or not running Parliament. Had the ruling party decided to run Parliament, they could have had big opportunity to expose the Congress. There was no problem discussing Nirav Modi. If the ruling party was ready to discuss it, then it should have agreed to the conditions of the opposition parties and the discussion should have happened. It was in the nation’s interest to discuss the Nirav Modi issue. There could have been allegations and counter allegations in the discussion but the ruling party should always be ready to face the allegations. The ruling party and opposition were involved in blame game and it wasted 27 days of the Parliament and people’s money as well.

The TDP quit the NDA after criticizing the government on several issues. Do you think other NDA allies may quit?

The big alliance partners in NDA include Shiv Sena, Akali Dal and TDP. All the other parties are small and state level. Some of them don’t have a single MP. These small parties are just there to add to the number of parties comprising the NDA. TDP has left. Now, the people are waiting for the Sena’s decision, but it will happen at the right time. If we think of 2019 elections, then there is not a single national level party in the NDA. We have already expressed our displeasure publicly. Though the TDP left the NDA, it has state power in its hands and the issue pertains to their state. We have already declared that we will contest polls solo in 2019 and nobody can question our decision.

The Sena has been criticising the government despite being a partner in power. The Opposition has criticised the apparent double standards saying the Sena should quit the government. Some Sena ministers have also said they are carrying their resignations in their pockets. Is the Sena waiting for an appropriate moment to quit the NDA?

We don’t have a dual role. Firstly, BJP is not the owner of the NDA, which is of many parties. And we are founder members of the NDA. We have an equal right, like the BJP, on the NDA. When the NDA was formed, the four major parties were Shiv Sena, BJP, Samata Paksh which later became JD(U) and Akali Dal. That’s why the Sena has a right on the NDA. This is not the case with TDP which has been in and out of the NDA. The TDP had their people in the UPA government as well. The Shiv Sena has loyalty to an ideology. The TDP had some compulsions due to which they quit the NDA. We also have some compulsions but we have to think of Maharashtra’s political stability and a few movements in Delhi. We are a responsible political party. Not much time is required to step down but we have to see its consequences on the country. But once we have declared our decision, Uddhavji will not withdraw it.

There is no dual role of Shiv Sena. We are just vocal about issues. If we don’t agree to something, we talk about it immediately. If we don’t agree to a thing, we don’t support it. CM had given us word that Nanar project will not happen if the people are opposing it. Still, it is being imposed. Then, shouldn’t we speak on it? Demonetization affected the people, country and industrialists. Shouldn’t we speak on it? Whatever we were speaking emerged as accurate later. Nobody can suppress our voice. They have given promises of resolving Kashmir issue, to reduce corruption and price rise, to stop the farmers’ suicides, etc. Because of these promises of Acche Din, people have voted us to power. The Sena can’t be a mute spectator if these promises are not being fulfilled.

The BJP now seems keen on contesting polls together with the Sena in 2019. Will you contest jointly?

We don’t know who they are calling pseudo seculars. And who them that we are going with pseudo seculars in future? The Sena has never said it will go with a third front. Why are they fearing? In 2014, the BJP broke the alliance and not the Sena. BJP was a big brother at the national level and Sena was at the state level. We didn’t break this relationship. Then, there was a Modi wave that went to their head. They didn’t see their friends, broke the alliance and got success. In 2019, they can’t see the same success. That’s why they need the Sena. But Sena can’t be taken for granted. We will contest solo and won’t go with anyone. The BJP shouldn’t worry about us.

It is being said that there two groups within the Sena regarding allying with the BJP for the polls. While one group is in favour, the other group is opposing an alliance.

There is no reason to have groups in the Sena. Uddhav, on 26th January 2016, at a rally in Goregaon, announced that there will be no pre-poll alliance with BJP. Then on 23rd January 2017, he reiterated it and a resolution was passed unanimously. There can’t be any groups in the Sena. Whatever Uddhav will tell us, we are of that group. We are with him whatever decision he takes.

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