How do you view the Congress and BJP in context of the Assembly elections?
For me, both are evil.
What made you vote for the Congress in the Rajya Sabha?
I voted for the Congress because I think it is a lesser evil. For me, BJP is a bigger evil. BJP is very dangerous. It is against the Constitution. It will destroy the country. There is no one to listen to the grievances of the poor in the BJP. But the Congress is comparatively better for the poor, tribals, SCs, OBCs, minorities and others.
How do you look at Ahmed Patel’s victory in Rajya Sabha polls?
Lalu Prasad had stopped the juggernaut of L K Advani in 1990 in Bihar, and now I have stopped the BJP’s and Amit Shah’s ambition of becoming invincible in his home state by casting my crucial vote in favour of the Congress. You have seen how the BJP and Amit Shah engineered defection among the Congress MLAs through allurements and intimidation to ensure they won all the three RS seats…. But, my one vote spoiled the gameplan of Amit Shah. Read | Gujarat elections: Chhotu Vasava wants Congress to take lead in forming Grand Alliance. Click here
Were you under pressure from BJP?
Yes. The BJP tried to put pressure on me, like it did to the NCP… But, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav had specifically asked me to vote for Ahmed Patel with a view to defeat the domineering attitude of Amit Shah. I had told Sharadji that Ahmed Patel can win with my vote only. And I proved it.
How did you overcome BJP’s pressure?
Senior BJP leader I K Jadeja came to my house on August 8 morning and asked me to go with him to Mahatma Mandir in his own car for RS polling. But, I politely declined to go with him, saying I will go in my own car. As a matter of strategy, I entered Mahatma Mandir in the company of BJP leaders so that they don’t have even an iota of doubt that I will not vote for the BJP, because they could have done anything to spoil my vote in a bid to defeat Ahmedbhai… BJP leaders were stunned when I announced that I voted for the Congress.
Why are you angry with Amit Shah?
More than 40 cases have been registered against me, ranging from murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping. Most are politically motivated. I am under threat from my political rivals. Yet, the Modi government withdrew my security. Amit Shah, who was holding the home portfolio in the Modi government, refused to issue me a gun licence… I was asked by then Bharuch district collector to talk to Shah. But, I told the collector that I don’t even look at Shah and the question of talking to him does not arise at all. For my protection, I have now hired a retired Army jawan with gun licence.
What is your grievance against the BJP?
The government has formed the State Tribal Advisory Council for the welfare of tribals having 20 members and headed by chief minister. But, I was not incorporated in it. I am the only tribal MLA who speaks for the welfare of tribals. The BJP government is not interested in their welfare. I want the state government to implement the provisions of the Vth Schedule of the Constitution to ensure that only tribals have the control over land and other resources in tribal or Scheduled Areas. On the contrary, the government is doing everything to transfer tribals’ land and resources to non-tribals. I am against this.