Three-time BJP MLA and former state minister Saryu Roy rebelled against his party and filed his nomination for the Jharkhand Assembly polls from Jamshedpur East against Chief Minister Raghubar Das. He tells The Indian Express about his decision to fight against the CM, specific problems of the state and his dissatisfaction with the BJP’s central leadership.
What do you think is the main reason behind you not getting the ticket to contest the elections?
A month ago, BJP’s Jharkhand election in-charge told me to prepare for the polls. I started to work. However, when my name did not appear in the first list, I said if the party is not sure then I don’t want any ticket… I felt humiliated when my name was not there until the fourth list. I was told that the CM had opposed my candidature as I speak against the government. But the comments should be checked on merit – whether I made any anti-government or anti-party comments. All I did was highlight certain issues…
Are you disappointed that your grievances were not redressed by the BJP’s central leadership?
I tolerated a lot of corruption issues… I have been working for the party for long.The PM says he is my friend. But even then, if no one listens to me, then what should I say? If the party did not want me to give the ticket, they could have just told me.
What are the issues in Jharkhand which had led to your constant indirect confrontation with Das?
The government did not function as an institution, and it was working on the whims (of Das)… There is a coterie of officers and the agenda is how to manage tenders like that of road construction. There is no-holds-barred corruption… The most shocking is that CM has 16 departments under him out of 30 departments. There is of course an ulterior motive…
Can you be little specific on the problems?
Recently, I was supposed to inaugurate something, one District Collector said that the crowd has to be brought. I said why should he bother with the crowd. It seems to me that the line between the bureaucracy and the political leader has blurred. Second, there was an incident where a vehicle was burnt, and it seemed that police had wrongly accused one person and I asked (the police) to conduct an inquiry… I wrote letters to several people, including various secretaries. The police later filed a closure report, but the guilty is not made an accused yet. One of the builders complained of extortion and he registered an FIR; however, the next day he was detained and a case was registered against him. I wrote to the state Home Secretary and despite several reminders there haven’t been any update on this. There are several such instances. I have tolerated enough.
People are talking about the dent in BJP’s image after giving tickets to turncoats with criminal cases.
The BJP had submitted memorandum against B P Shahi (independent candidate from Bhawanathpur who joined BJP recently) in 2008 and then too the party gave him a ticket. There are murder charges against Shashi Bhushan Mehta and tickets are being given. I don’t understand how this happened and it seems there is no parallel channel for communication to Delhi. Why is it that whatever Raghubar Das has said is sacrosanct?
There is a criticism that if you were so unhappy, why you did not resign from the party?
I had a chat with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2017, and then I spoke to Amit Shah. I had told both of them that I feel ashamed to be part of the government based on several reasons. Since the senior leadership had forced me to join the cabinet, I went to them to offer my resignation. The PM said to not leave the government and problems will be rectified. However, the party did not respond…
Then why haven’t you resigned your BJP membership?
I don’t want to lose sympathy of the people. Let the BJP leadership remove me.
How do you see BJP’s prospect in the upcoming Assembly elections?
The BJP will not get even 25 seats on its own.
Is the image of the CM also an issue?
In 2016, the CM in a meeting said not to listen to the BJP workers as they are “chirkut” and are “dalaals” and it was printed in the newspapers. How can someone talk like this? No one said anything.
So does the leadership listen to the groundworkers?
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction among the BJP ground workers.