Barmer/Kolkata: It took almost three days to pin Manvendra Singh down for a telephonic interview. Singh recently dropped a brick following his announcement to dissociate himself from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the process, he has stolen the thunder from Vasundhara Raje’s Gaurav Yatra just a few months ahead of the assembly elections. Son of BJP’s founding member Jaswant Singh, Singh doesn’t mince words while speaking about the raw deal being meted out to him and his father by a political party which had been nurtured by the family. Following are excerpts from the no-holds-barred conversation:
eNewsroom: From being an ardent supporter of BJP to saying ‘Kamal Ka Phool, Badi Bhool’, the journey must have been a difficult one for you….?
Manvendra: Well, it definitely has been a difficult decision to severe links from a party which you have served all these years through thick and thin. But sadly enough, BJP has failed to deliver on any of the promises that it made during the last assembly polls or before the general elections. Also, the slogan, Kamal ka Phool, Badi Bhool, is not actually my statement. It’s the sentiment of the common man which I realized during my Swabhimaan Yatra. The people of Rajasthan are definitely regretting having voted for a party which has failed them miserably.
eNewsroom: What about you and your father Jaswant Singh. Do you think, you people too perhaps made the wrong choice?
Manvendra: (Pauses) We definitely have been given short shrift because of certain politicians within the BJP, both at the state and national level. The way my father has been sidelined after having dedicated his entire life to this political party is quite shocking for us all. So, to be honest, the fault lines had appeared way back in 2014 but it took me around four years to take a final call. You see, it’s not easy to move away from a political party to which you have dedicated your lifetime or your prime years.
eNewsroom: Has the party been unfair to you too, like your father?
Manvendra: Yes. My decision to quit is linked with the way we have been treated. Since 2014, my father and his supporters have been continually targeted and harassed by the BJP.
eNewsroom: Why flag off a Swabhimaan yatra to announce your decision?
Manvendra: This is a battle or fight for our self-respect and there could be no better occasion to announce my decision. But let me tell you, I announced my decision only after gauging the public sentiment of my area. During this yatra, which I had flagged off about a month back, I have been interacting with the masses, who have only one slogan – Sabak Sikhana Hai (We want to teach a lesson). You see, the common man has been treated badly by the Rajasthan’s chief minister, who had made tall promises but has miserably failed to deliver.
eNewsroom: So, do you feel that Vasundhara Raje has failed to succeed as the chief minister?
Manvendra: Of course! The common man had showed a lot of confidence in her leadership. She won all the seats and see, how she has performed. Equally annoying has been her Sphinx-like silence on lynching cases in Alwar. She has not been tuned into the needs of her people. Development has been conspicuous by its absence. On the contrary, Rajasthan has been denuded of its vibrant local culture of bhaichara during her tenure.
Lynching and communal riots were not prevalent in our state. It’s not part of the Rajasthani culture. Raje’s failure to deliver on her promises and her apathy towards social fragmentation will be the cause of her downfall. And let me be clear, it’s not just the Muslims but the Hindus too are unhappy with her.
eNewsroom: Not just you, many BJP leaders have quit the party in Rajasthan. Why?
Manvendra: My dissociation with BJP is an outcome of Raje’s apathy towards me and my father. She has failed to be a leader who keeps her party members together.
eNewsroom: Do you think that the BJP has a chance to win the Assembly Elections?
Manvendra: I don’t think so. The people are looking for a change as they have seen through Raje’s rhetorical pyrotechnics.
eNewsroom: What about the Lok Sabha election next year, do you think BJP will win?
Manvendra: Well, I can’ comment much about BJP’s performance at an all India level, as I don’t travel a lot. But yes, one thing is for sure, the Modi wave is fading in the country.