Samajwadi Party (SP) MP and son of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav AKHILESH YADAV speaks out about the controversial ‘friendship’ between his father and Kalyan Singh,why the BJP and SP will always remain at odds and how the BJP and Congress will be relegated to the margins,leaving the electoral battleground to the SP and Bahujan Samaj party (BSP). Excerpts from an interview with Ravish Tiwari.
* Recently,Mulayam Singh Yadav said that your party can contemplate any kind of understanding with the BJP if the latter decides to keep its agenda on Article 370 (which grants special status to J&K),Ram Temple and Common Civil Code on the backburner. Given the timing of his statement,is there some kind of re-thinking within SP about its allies?
People misunderstood what netaji (Mulayam) said. I was there when he spoke on this issue. He only reminded the questioner about what he had once said in Parliament to reinforce the point that the SP could not think of bridging its distances with the BJP unless the party decides to shed its agenda on the Ram Temple,Article 370 and Common Civil Code.
Let me be very clear on this,we can never have alliance with the BJP. We cannot even think of an alliance with the BJP. Forget us,the leaders,even our ordinary party workers cannot accept this thought. The SP has been fighting against the BJP since its beginning. An alliance with them is impossible.
* Yet the SP chief has renewed his ties with Kalyan Singh,who in his BJP days was a champion of the Ram Temple cause. What explains this dichotomy?
I would like to draw your attention to the three main points that Kalyan Singh made at the time he parted ways with the BJP. First,he took a vow to drag the BJP to its grave (BJP ko dafan karenge,he had said). Secondly,he said that he would make every effort to prevent L K Advani from becoming the prime minister. And the third point he made was that,he would canvass the SP’s agenda to fulfill the above two things.
If a senior person with such plans approaches the SP,secular forces should not get angry. In fact,if any other senior BJP leader wants to come to us and strengthen the secular platform and weaken the saffron one,he would be welcomed. There are several examples in history where leaders took help from defectors from the enemy’s camp.
* But hasn’t this created flutter in your minority support base in Uttar Pradesh?
I can tell you from my experience while touring in the state that none of my minority supporters would like to see the BJP and Advani coming back to power,which would ultimately lead to the advent of Narendra Modi. Our minority support base knows we will not budge from protecting their interests.
I am also aware that the ruling BSP in the state is trying to spread false rumours about us in the minority community. But our supporters are also aware that only six months ago (at the time of trust vote),Mayawati wanted to become PM with the BJP’s help.
The media has reported the concerns of our sympathisers and I can hear their voice. But jo aapse muhabbat karta hai wahi aapko apni chinta sunata hai,iska matlab yeh nahin hua ki uska affection kam ho gaya (those who love you tell you their worries,but it doesn’t mean their affection has diminished).
* Even the Congress has expressed its reservations about the Mulayam-Kalyan pact
All I want to say is that senior Congress leaders stood beside Kalyan Singhji about four years ago to topple Mayawati government. I presume that the support of the state-level Congress leader then also had the sanction of the Central leadership.
* With the war of words between the SP and Congress,it appears that there are serious problems between the two parties
I would not like to comment on this for the simple fact that our party’s highest decision making body,SP’s Parliamentary Board,has authorised party general secretary Amar Singh to discuss an alliance with the Congress. However,my personal view is that people from UP will welcome every step aimed at strengthening forces that would stop BJP and Advani from coming to power at the national level and defeating Mayawati’s misrule in UP.
In UP,this time the two national parties (Congress and BJP) will be on the margins and the real battle will be between the SP and BSP. Don’t go by the “war of words”. Let me tell you categorically that the battle in UP is not going to be between the SP and Congress. I am hopeful of an alliance,but even otherwise the battle in UP this election will be between SP on one side and BSP and BJP on the other. I am saying BSP and BJP on one side because,I feel,there is a tacit understanding between them.
* As a young MP,how do you see Rahul Gandhi visiting Dalit families in UP?
This is a good thing that he (Rahul) wants to feel their plight. It is a good way to understand the plight of the disadvantaged.