Rashtiya Lok Dal chief and civil aviation minister Ajit Singh talks about his idea of communal harmony and the role of Samajwadi Party and BJP in Muzaffarnagar riots with The New Indian Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla during Teekhi Baat on IBN7. Excerpts:
Has your political stature reduced after the riots?
Firstly, it is important to think what effect these riots would have if they happened in the city. You can deploy police and curfew. But if the riots happen in villages, neither can you deploy police nor impose curfew. If harmony diminishes in villages….then things can take a dangerous turn…farmers cannot go to fields, people will have to migrate and become refuges in their own country.
Who will take the initiative of spreading harmony among people?
Neither Samajwadi party, nor BJP would do this. We and our party are making efforts. The riots are aligned with the political interests of the Samajwadi Party and BJP.
Why didn’t Manmohan Singh take you with him?.
I don’t know. I had to go for a Panchayat. There would be no meaning in just going and observing the place, nothing will happen by merely paying a visit, one has to go to villages, sit and talk to people.
Do you feel that BJP and SP are hand in glove?
It was their plan, if the government had taken action at the right time, not let the panchayat happen, all this would not have happened. We have taken many panchayats, but never have riots happened. In the first panchayat, in which the District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police went, one knows what kind of speeches were given, if police took action at the right time, people would have felt that action is bein g taken. It was an issue of Eve-teasing, which is a very sensitive thing for anybody.
Jat and Muslims live together in harmony...
Mulayam Singh’s strategy was that Jat people should go to BJP and when Muslims see they have no vote, they would drift to Samajwadi Party, but this time his ploy had the opposite effect.
The aim was to make you suffer.
Their aim was to let the polarisation happen, and they wanted to win the polls, BJP wants polarisation because they don’t get Muslim vote. As elections come near, these attempts will increase, Hindus and Muslims both are unhappy with Mulayam.
Between Congress and BJP, who would you see as lesser evil?
We are with UPA, and would be with UPA.
Even after elections?
Even after elections.
Will you contest elections in alliance?
We will contest elections in alliance.
Chaudhary saab had a big vision. Why are you are making your vision limited?
Elections were contested in the issue of policy and ideology. All that is finished now. It is merely cost-linked politics now...
For the full text of this interview, log on to www.newindianexpress.com