A situation of disbelief has been created in the party: Chandigarh BJP chiefhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/a-situation-of-disbelief-has-been-created-in-the-party-chandigarh-bjp-chief/

A situation of disbelief has been created in the party: Chandigarh BJP chief

Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon, in an interview talks about the ongoing controversies in the party ahead of its organisational polls.

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Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon. (Source: Express photo by Sahil Walia)

Your term as BJP president is ending. What contributions have you made?

The biggest contribution was to bring in the fold of the party all those families who had been somewhere forgotten. The families of Jai Ram Joshi, Hit Abhilashi and Ram Swarup were the pillars of the party in the past. They were ignored for 10 years. By bringing them back to the fold, the party got rejuvenated. When you revive a family politically, it’s not just one family but a number of people associated with the family.

In April 2010, I started interacting with Harmohan Dhawan. He had been in six different political parties and had contested Lok Sabha elections from Chandigarh on six different platforms. He was moving from one party to the other. I realised that he was having a chunk of votes at his end. That chunk of votes was never good enough for him to win but good enough for somebody to lose. I interacted with him and after talking to Nitin Gadkari, I introduced Dhawan to the party. All the previous presidents had resisted his entry into the party. However, we thought that he would be able to increase the party base as he had a huge following.

At that point of time, a lot of people told me that by bringing Dhawan in the party fold, I was playing with my future. But I brushed that idea aside. My aim was to expand the party. Then I revived the process of training of party workers by organising a three-day camp at Kurali. In the 2011 MC elections, we had 12 seats…we were the largest party. We implemented this system of pre-House meet. Such a process puts councillors on the right track. In 2012, I again became the president.

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You have always been surrounded by controversies. What is the reason behind it?

We organised around 250 camps with regard to party membership. We put out information pertaining to this on social media and went house-to-house to get forms filled. I have 25,000 forms with me. When this entire process was being done, from November 2014 to March 2015, none of the so-called leaders helped us. They didn’t even come forward for training. You see, a person who is always absent is afraid of losing power.

What was that fight that took place at the party office recently?

The fight was because this group, who knew that it wouldn’t be able to win the elections, was questioning the poll procedure. It was the same group that had thrown eggs and stones at MP Kirron Kher during her election campaign. They then lodged a complaint with the Delhi office, following which the matter was handed over for probe to a three-member
committee.

There were these audio clips that went viral, wherein your own election incharge Prem Kaushik speaks about wrongdoings in the elections of the organisational post.

My concern is not about the validity of the content of these clips. I am concerned about the situation of disbelief that has been created in the party. Workers are worried that they are being recorded. If a third person interprets a one-to-one conversation, there are bound to be different conclusions to it.

In the second audio clip Prem Kaushik is heard saying that don’t make it viral, you can show it to the high command and I am ready to stand by you.

If I start commenting on each and every aspect, it would be detrimental to the cause of my being present. When I am not going to contest the next election, how is it going to affect me? Why are these people pointing fingers at me? They are only trying to put a lid on their own wrongdoings. They want to malign me.

Despite the BJP being in power, you lost the mayoral polls and the seat went to Congress that had only eight seats.

In the last mayoral elections, we had almost won. The night before, Dhawan called Jannat [BSP councillor] 25 times and abused her. The next day, she was so upset. She, who was ready the night before to vote for us, said the next morning that she would settle for the Congress. The night before we had even congratulated Heera Negi for being the would-be mayor. But what happened after that? Everybody kept mum on that incident because apni izzat apne hath mein hai (one’s respect is in one’s own hands).

Who, according to you, is fit for being the next BJP president?

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I would say that the next incumbent should be able to discharge his duties at the grassroots level. My support in terms of my time and my effort would be there 24×7. In our system, naming any person is not right. If I name anybody, it would be detrimental to the rights of those who would be choosing. High command would also analyse. But I am not a person to choose.