Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad says he will contest from Varanasi only to show the world he is afraid of no one. Excerpts from his interview with Namita Bajpai.
You claim to lead a social organisation. How far will you be involved in this election?
Being an aware citizen and representative of a particular section of society, I will be involved in the electoral process as much as anyone who believes in democracy.
Why have you decided to challenge the PM as a candidate from Varanasi?
I respect the PM’s post but have a problem with the present occupant. He claims to be a ‘Chowkidar’ but it’s not so. He is Hissedar (a party) in big time scams and ‘hera-pheri’. In fact, the Chowkidaar and his coterie want to steal the Constitution and subvert it. They want to impose RSS ideology on us through back door.
By contesting, aren’t you dividing anti-BJP votes?
I will contest only from Varanasi. Had I a political ambition, I would have fought from a safer seat like Nagina, a reserved seat near my home with Dalits and Muslim majority and won hands down. I chose Varanasi just to tell the zalim that people may be scared of them, but I am not. Hum to Andhiyon ke khilaf chirag lekar nikle hain dekhte hain kya hota hai (I have lighted a lamp against a gale. Let’s see what happens).
There is the perception that you are RSS backed so BSP chief Mayawati keeps you at bay?
I am fighting the present social system and on the ideology of bahujan sukhay, bahujan hitaya. I am struggling to sustain the movement espoused by our icons who had a vision of brotherhood, equality, amity and harmony in society, transcending boundaries of caste and community. Actually, people have seen my success only but unaware of my wounds and struggle. The so-called political leadership’s across parties are not able to digest my success. They fear youth power.
What are the prospects of SP-BSP alliance in this election?
It will all depend on the hard work of alliance partners. However, I feel all likeminded parties should have been on one platform against BJP.
Will you support the Congress, especially after Priyanka Gandhi’s visit?
She is a sister. She visited me, I welcomed her. Now when I talk about saving the Constitution, my moral duty is to support all those who are there to defeat the BJP across the country to save democracy.
How do you see the snub of SP and BSP leaders to Congress’s gesture of leaving 7 seats for alliance?
This is nothing but sheer arrogance of Bhai Akhilesh and Behenji. Arrogance drives people to destruction. They should also introspect what they have done so far. The fight should not be to gain power but to save the Constitution and democracy.
You have been saying that you want to see Mayawati as PM. Why don’t you make BSP stronger?
I am fighting for honour and pride of dalits. We tried a number of times to unite the bahujan samaj. My movement is inspired by Kanshiram ji.I believe that political aspiration may or may not be fulfilled, power may or may not come but the movement to bring about social change should continue. I want to empower my people and bring them at par as they are still suffering due to their caste. Jab vote inka hai to raj bhi inka hi hona chaiye (If they have the votes, it should be they who rule).
Why does BSP chief refuse your support?
Possibly, she takes me as her potential competitor and an alternative to her leadership.