Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of destroying social harmony in the country, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) chief Babulal Marandi tells Mukesh Ranjan in an interview that BJP’s removal from power is must to protect democracy.
What is the biggest challenge before you in this Lok Sabha election?
A large number of people believe that since the BJP government came to power, social harmony in this country has been disturbed by creating a sense of hatred against each other. Hence, Narendra Modi himself is a challenge for us in this Lok Sabha election; he must be thrown out of power.
Why do you think so?
We have been fighting terrorism for decades and have defeated Pakistan every time. But Modiji has created a situation where we (Indians) have become enemies of each other. Kashmiri people are being targeted everywhere… This vote politics is really dangerous for democracy and for the country. That’s why, it is important to remove this government from power if we want to save this country.
How would you do that? Even after the election dates were announced, the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ is yet to take final shape in Jharkhand…
Every party wants maximum number of seats, which is natural. Talks are still on for all the 14 seats in Jharkhand and the names will be announced soon. The seat-sharing will be purely on the basis of probability of a candidate winning.
But, it was said that the seat-sharing formula was decided in New Delhi after a meeting of representatives of Opposition parties with Rahul Gandhi…
Seat-sharing was never decided in New Delhi; only a consensus was reached among the Opposition parties to contest the Lok Sabha elections together. It will be finalised only after a formal announcement is made jointly by all of us.
Is it true that there are differences over Godda seat as both Congress and JVM have staked claims and neither is ready to budge?
It’s not true; we are still to reach a consensus on all 14 seats in Jharkhand. Every party will keep on making its claim until the talks are over and candidates are declared. We are demanding three seats — Godda, Koderma and Chatra — on the basis of the strong mass support we enjoy there.
But your claim over Godda also seems to have caused a sense of displeasure among minorities in the state?
Winnability is the only parameter to be considered for getting a ticket, and if a minority candidate is not found to be fulfilling the criteria, he could be sent to the Rajya Sabha in April next year. Our priority should be to keep the communal forces away from power at any cost.
Speculation is rife that JVM and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha are reluctant to come together for the Lok Sabha elections.
This is not true; we have no differences. Hemantji (JMM chief Hemant Soren) and I are in regular contact with each other.
Would you like to take Left and other smaller parties on board in order to expand the mass support of the Mahagathbandhan in Jharkhand?
I personally believe that a way out must be found and all the smaller parties taken on board in this battle against non-secular forces. The Congress, which is leading the Mahagathbandhan in Jharkhand, must take a lead and talk to them.