We will respond when the UPA takes the first step in choosing a candidate for president, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav tells The New Indian Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla during Teekhi Baat on IBN7. Excerpts:
What is on your insightful mind these days? Is it the presidential election or some other issue?
The presidential election is around the corner, and all parties have been talking. But there has been no initiative from the Congress, Soniaji and people surrounding her. It is not right for us to speak now.
‘Us’ means JD(U)?
Be it JD(U) or NDA, or other parties, regional parties, Left, all of these.
Sharadji, you are a senior leader. Why has your name not come up for
All I want to say is that we stand for principles, not benefits.
If the post is offered to you...
Given the situation in the country, there is no meaning in taking that post.
There may be a Vice-President from other parties.
I have no connection with that. I am not a candidate for that, in any manner.
Do you think that caste and religion have become more important than capability even in the presidential election?
The disease has become evident, but nobody is ready to have a serious discussion on it. Earlier it used to happen in a straight and simple manner; nowadays it is like a panchayat.
Do you feel that the President and Vice-President should be chosen on the basis of caste, sex or religion?
No, all should be seen together.
But if you have to give weightage?
If it depended on me, I will get a person who stands by principles.
Even if he is from a different caste... There is no question of caste, any person you pick will be from some caste.
I am asking you as a senior politician, a JD(U) leader who has 22 MPs.
And I am telling you that there is little social impact by making somebody from a particular section the President.
What about the opportunistic behaviour that has started in JD(U)? You are running a government with the BJP in Bihar, but you don’t allow Modi sahab to come there.
Don’t call it opportunistic behaviour. The alliance we have with the BJP has marked and kept some issues like Ayodhya, Article 370, and Uniform Civil Code aside.
It is known from that start that you are not with BJP on these issues.
These issues create hurdles
You took the stance that Nitish Kumar and Modi will not campaign together in Bihar.
This has come out from other sources.
That truth is that you took help from the Modi government for the floods that Bihar faced.
There’s no need to discuss this issue, I have told you that there were differences on this. It’s over now.
What I mean to say is that your relations with the BJP are blow hot-blow cold.
Certainly, when there is an alliance, there are disagreements many times.
Can you have an alliance with the BJP in Gujarat?
There is no question.
Hence, there is no question of campaigning with Modi.
No, there is no question.
Let me come back to the issue of presidential election. Should candidates be political or non-political?
It is the responsibility of the UPA. When there is no discussion with them, then it is useless to answer this.
You will respond to that initiation
It is our decision to take part and take forward the initiation.
Till they don’t initiate, you will not do anything.
There is no question.
That means NDA has no responsibility.
It is their responsibility to initiate.
Will you support an active Congress member for president? The BJP has made it clear they won’t.
All I have to say is that only after the UPA initiates the process, can one think on these issues. It may be a Congress member. Anybody, Congress, Communist, anybody.
Do you feel that the Vice-President should also come from their side?