Neither an NRC nor a Triple Talaq or any other issue has anything to do with the livelihood of people of Haryana and their bread and butter issues, said Congress' Kaithal candidate Randeep Surjewala.
Congress leader and sitting MLA from Kaithal in Haryana, Randeep Surjewala speaks in an interview to ET's Aman Sharma during his campaign...
Q. BJP has a slogan of 75-Paar in Haryana? What does Congress think?
Surjewala: The campaign of Congress is going strong. The hollowness of the BJP promises, the rampant incompetence and absolute maladministration stand exposed before the people. This is a government that is a zero-sum game. Except for the polarisation on caste and communal lines, BJP has delivered zilch. They will be suitably punished by the people of Haryana. In many ways a whole lot of things are 75-paar. Petrol is almost 75 paar, pulses are already 75 paar, tomatoes are going onion way and almost 75 paar and dollar is already 75 paar. I think people of Haryana will now say 'BJP sarkar Haryana se Bahar' (BJP government out of Haryana). The state has a 29% unemployment rate which is perhaps the highest in the world. For 4,000 clerk pasts, over 15 lakh youngsters applied. This would give you an idea of the rampant unemployment. But CM has the audacity to say there are no unemployed people in Haryana.
Q. So are issues like scrapping of Article 370 being raised by BJP to hide issues like unemployment?
Surjewala: They are trying to hide the issues of farmer unrest, unemployment and also trade and business has totally flopped due to lopsided and thoughtless policies of the BJP government. 'Mandi aur Talabandi' are the two catchwords you can find in every trade and business and every shop. Right from Faridabad, Gurgaon, Panipat, Karnal, Ambala to Yamunanagar including the paddy trade of Kurukshetra, Karnal, and Kaithal, everything has flopped and consequently, they have nothing to say about the state. They have no agenda for the state.
Q. But what will the Congress tell the voter in Haryana if they ask you on your stand on scrapping of Article 370?
Surjewala: Everybody is interested in the issues of livelihood, delivery, and governance. Neither an NRC nor a Triple Talaq or any other issue has anything to do with their livelihood and bread and butter issues. It appears they (BJP) are fighting an election in Assam, West Bengal or Jammu & Kashmir rather than in Haryana. The CM has done nothing and hence they have to rely upon the agenda that has nothing to do with the state.
Q. PM has also asked who is the Captain of the Congress in this election?
Surjewala: We should ask the PM who was the captain of BJP in Haryana when they fought and won in 2014. That time he did not raise it as there were too many captains. Even now, there are many people who are waiting to oust Khattar but that is their internal issue. PM does not speak of his captain in Punjab or Gujarat when he fights elections. A party in the opposition will decide its captain post-elections.
Q. BJP often says there is division in Congress leadership in Haryana - there is you, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Kumari Selja. So who is the real Captain?
Surjewala: There is Mr Ramvilas Sharma, Captain Abhimanyu, Mr Om Prakash Dhankar, Rao Inderjeet Singh and Chaudhary Birender Singh in BJP. In politics, to aspire is not a crime and finally, the party and people will choose.
Q. You have been often attacked by senior BJP leaders by name?
Surjewala: It shows a sense of fear and panic in mind of Amit Shah and Manohar Lal Khattar. BJP is not used to answering questions. I have been raising people's issues including the murder of 200 people in Haryana in police firing by Khattar government, siphoning of farmer funds by giving him Rs 1600 per quintal for a paddy variety while form J is issued for Rs 1835 per quintal which is the MSP. We are raising rampant corruption, be it Aravalli land conversion scam or the mining scam or overloading scam or SC scholarship siphoning scam or sale of papers of Haryana staff selection commission. CM has consciously protected the guilty in all these cases and consequentially the investigation hasn't fructified. Hence they don't speak of their performance as a government in the last five years but only criticise me or the Congress party.