Misra defends BSP’s Brahmin outreach and says social gathering stands for sarv samaaj; insists BSP has been energetic and elevating points in Parliament and courts; and says that whereas the social gathering is able to again the Cong on points, it can achieve this on its phrases. The session was moderated by Chief of Bureau & Political Editor Ravish Tiwari.
RAVISH TIWARI: After a protracted interval of inactivity, the BSP has sounded the ballot bugle in Uttar Pradesh with a collection of public conferences. What prompted it?
It’s not totally appropriate to say that we began doing this all of a sudden. For the previous one-and-a-half years, public conferences haven’t been doable due to the pandemic. Despite that, we managed to have 62 conferences in numerous districts, with at the least 200 individuals every. While the Brahmins got here to my workplace, comparable conferences had been held at Behenji’s (social gathering chief Mayawati) place. The second the Covid-19 instances dropped in UP, we started (our conferences). It’s not that we had been silent, the social gathering has been working proper as much as the sales space degree, and we’re decided to throw out the BJP authorities within the state.
RAVISH TIWARI: But you will be accused of launching your marketing campaign with caste-based occasions?
We known as it ‘Prabuddha Sammelan (intellectuals’ conferences)’. No doubt, in all my conferences, 90 per cent of the attendees had been Brahmins, however there have been others too. There had been advocates, medical doctors, engineers… So it wasn’t a ‘jaativaad’ occasion. In UP, Brahmins and Dalits are dealing with most points. The approach encounters and murders are occurring… If somebody complains, he faces inquiry. All these individuals who had been struggling urged me to return out… They need 2007 to return again [the last time BSP came to power], they need the brotherhood of the Brahmin and Dalit communities to return. The social engineering… nobody ever thought the communities may come collectively. We fashioned a majority authorities.
RAVISH TIWARI: What points will you increase within the 2022 polls?
Law and order, growth, atrocities on girls, atrocities on caste traces… People are once more speaking about Mayawati’s growth work, how she dealt with legislation and order and didn’t even spare her personal MP… Today one barely sees any growth, we solely see pages and pages of commercials. (Mayawati) gave employment to individuals from all sections. Work on the primary Delhi-Noida expressway was began in her time. An enquiry was positioned on it after our time period, after which the identical authorities inaugurated it! The Congress, Samajwadi Party, everybody protested in opposition to the Jewar airport, and right this moment they’re all batting for it… Work on Lucknow Metro was began in our time. We ensured the all-round growth of 29,500 Ambedkar villages. About 29,000 new major colleges had been opened; seven international-level universities had been arrange… She opened 23 new districts, which got here with new roads, hospitals, schools… She improved the electrical energy state of affairs in UP… In our five-year time period, there was one rape case. Today, we hear of 1 rape each two hours… So that’s the distinction. (Mayawati) has put the agenda on the desk, and has promised to take UP the place it must be… Today we’re seeing Rs 300 crore being spent by individuals to propagate themselves. It is a sin. Teachers are going with out wage, individuals are not getting pensions, after which you might be mocking everybody by placing signboards saying that we’re giving 5 kg grain every to 15 crore individuals. But the price of the bag with images of BJP leaders is greater than the foodgrains. Is that justified?
LIZ MATHEW: The BJP has additionally been focussing on Dalit votes in UP, and the social gathering’s caste method has labored to this point. How will you consolidate your vote base within the face of such stiff competitors from the ruling social gathering? Also, what do you make of the Bhim Army’s affect amongst Dalits in UP?
All these individuals and events are propped up by the BJP, whether or not it’s him (Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad) or (AIMIM chief Asaduddin) Owaisi. They are hardly going to do any harm to us. They will lose their very own seat in the event that they contest an election there. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are behind Behenji like a rock, which ensured that we bought 2.62 crore votes within the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. We bought no seats however we had been the third largest social gathering even then and now too. So individuals from these castes know who has labored for them. If they’re being spoken about now, it’s only and solely due to her (Mayawati). It is just not that she has constructed the Kanshiram Smarak in Noida, however she has completed great work for them… When BJP leaders go to (Dalit) properties, their meals is taken from their very own properties, they’re simply proven consuming with them or washing their toes… But these individuals vote for Behenji. Why? It’s as a result of she doesn’t bask in these photo-ops. She has taken them out from their huts and given them pucca properties… Now, as soon as once more we try to revive the brotherhood between Brahmins and Dalits. We are a sarv samaaj social gathering. We are reaching out to the uncared for, whether or not Brahmin or Dalit.
BHUPENDRA PANDEY: Why have there been so many suspensions and expulsions within the BSP lately, together with of senior leaders resembling Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar?
We don’t observe the philosophy that simply because somebody is a senior chief, or an MP or MLA, they need to not face motion for anti-party exercise. We fielded Ramji Gautam for the Rajya Sabha polls. In the final minute, a few of our social gathering’s MLAs supported the SP candidate. What generally is a greater anti-party exercise? Who has made them massive leaders? The social gathering. And so the social gathering is most vital. If you have a look at the careers of individuals whose names you take, you will notice that they’ve been made zero-to-hero by Mayawati. Over the years, many such individuals have come and gone within the BSP, and this time too, a variety of new faces are coming.
SHUBHAJIT ROY: The months of April and May noticed acute scarcity of beds and oxygen and even political leaders like your self couldn’t maintain the federal government accountable. Why ought to individuals belief you with their vote then?
Covid has put us all to disgrace. Let me let you know my very own expertise. I’ve helped at the least 2,500 sufferers in getting remedy. For these one-and-a-half months, I actually didn’t sleep, attempting to manage oxygen and so forth. We opened a campus for about 2,500-3,000 labourers who couldn’t travel, and organized for his or her meals. But sure, we weren’t giving sound bites on TV about it; we had been simply doing our work. That’s how our social gathering is. The degree of Covid mismanagement in UP is unimaginable. They (the federal government) began taking motion in opposition to those that identified the mismanagement. We visited the ghats, the cremation areas, and had been shocked to see that nearly 100 our bodies had been being burnt in a line. We even helped in arranging wooden for some… Bodies had been being washed away within the Ganga… Where did all the cash allotted for Covid go? They had been blaming the media for displaying the our bodies. But what the media was displaying was much less. We had been seeing the scenes at hospitals. Many sufferers died of starvation.
VANDITA MISHRA: We have had many agitations within the current previous — pupil protests, anti-CAA protests, the farmer agitation, Dalit protests. However, the BSP has not been seen in any of those. People who’re in jail right this moment, dealing with sedition prices, UAPA, they’re activists who don’t belong to any social gathering. For a celebration that speaks for probably the most marginalised, isn’t this a failure?
Our individuals have at all times been agitating, however in a unique method. We don’t consider in tod-phod. During the Dalit agitations, we had been current all around the nation. Two of our individuals died in firing in Madhya Pradesh. In UP, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, over 100 of our individuals had been put in jail… When it involves instances of sedition, UAPA, we’ve been preventing for them in court docket, attempting to make sure their launch. We don’t do danga-fasaad on streets. We don’t cease trains, buses, destroy authorities property. We protested in Parliament for farmers. Our personal members are farmers and they’re protesting. When we kind the federal government, we’ll have a look at all points. Tomorrow in case you write one thing, even you’ll not be spared. It’s an undeclared Emergency.
MANOJ C G: There is far discuss of Opposition unity on the nationwide degree. Sharad Pawar talks about it, Mamata Banerjee too. Sonia Gandhi held a gathering. But the BSP is just not very smitten by these efforts. Even in Parliament, typically you attend joint Opposition conferences, typically you don’t. The BSP stays absent when some essential Bills are put to vote.
We are at all times with the Opposition, I’ve myself attended conferences. Whether it was the Congress authorities earlier, even once we had been providing them exterior assist, or the BJP now, you may see that. But our social gathering takes its personal resolution on issues, whether or not one thing is in nationwide or public curiosity, on what to oppose and what not. So when the Congress asks us to face with them within the Opposition, we would oppose the identical issues and nonetheless not stand with them. There are causes for this, there’s a background. We supported them once we had 40-41 MPs altogether, however what did they do? Earlier, when Ashok Gehlot grew to become the Chief Minister in Rajasthan, they took away six of our MLAs even once we had been giving them exterior assist. They did the identical this time… The social gathering additionally did this in Himachal and some different locations… On the one hand, you do all this stuff to interrupt the BSP, harm it, and on the opposite you say that the BSP ought to stand with you always. So we’ll again them on points, however on our phrases… We are additionally a nationwide social gathering, one amongst 5 nationwide political events. We should resolve based mostly on our considering on a matter… You spoke about Bengal… (within the Assembly election) they had been all preventing one another. Who was collectively? So we’ve to struggle you electorally, you poach our MPs and MLAs, identical because the BJP… we aren’t double-faced. We are clear about our stand.
MANOJ C G: If the Opposition comes collectively and the Congress is just not the one main it, will the BSP be part of it?
We haven’t as soon as however a number of occasions been a part of such unity bids, whether or not Karnataka or Bengal… But in case you suppose that we’ll include you everytime you say so, we are able to’t try this, both in Parliament or exterior. We have an unbiased identification of personal… We have a number of occasions raised our voice in opposition to the BJP… To say that we’ve supported the BJP, say on Article 370 (abrogation)… We supported it after a correct resolution, that this was according to Dr Ambedkar’s considering. Even the BJP was stunned, it didn’t know we had been going to assist the move. The considering was very cheap — that whereas J&Okay has a small variety of Muslims in comparison with the remainder of the nation, there are restrictions in terms of marrying individuals from exterior, proudly owning property there… Dr Ambedkar’s considering was easy, that how can there be two units of rules in a rustic, he wished the entire nation to be one. He didn’t assist Article 370 even then.
HARIKISHAN SHARMA: In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, you had aligned with the Samajwadi Party to tackle the BJP. The BSP stays weak in Uttar Pradesh. In the approaching polls, are you contemplating any alliance?
In this election, no matter social gathering it could be, native or nationwide, we aren’t going to align with anyone. We have learnt from our expertise, we had a bitter expertise… No doubt we’ve a coalition in Punjab, with the Shiromani Akali Dal, which goes very sturdy. There is little question that we’ll kind the federal government there. But in UP, we aren’t going to have a coalition with anyone… Our social gathering is No. 1 in UP proper now, the BJP is No. 1 solely on paper, in propaganda, as a result of they’ve the cash, the muscle. The actuality is that the BJP MLAs are scared to even go to their areas, they even name their members of the family to satisfy them exterior. If they go to, individuals gherao them, demand solutions… The approach individuals are struggling, be it on account of Covid, or the farmers who’re sitting on streets, dying…
DEEPTIMAN TIWARY: In the previous few years, because the BJP has gained in power, it appears all events at the moment are on the lookout for solely the Hindu vote. Your social gathering chief too was seen with a trishul lately. The BJP has been doing the identical for years. Why would individuals come to you for this? And secondly, who will discuss for the Muslims now, increase their points?
The BSP’s chief within the Vidhan Sabha is a Muslim, our social gathering president for 3 years was a Muslim. He is taking care of the social gathering as a coordinator for elections within the state. We have at the least three Muslims as senior coordinators… Our social gathering doesn’t differentiate between Hindus, Muslims. It acts within the curiosity of sarvajan. Our social gathering at all times offers tickets to Muslims, greater than different events… The Muslims know this very nicely. It is just below the BSP authorities that UP didn’t see a single riot, nor did communities struggle one another, or any group reside below dehshat (fear). People lived collectively, there was bhaichara (brotherhood). So individuals know which social gathering they need to go along with… Even within the Rajya Sabha, our chief is a Muslim, within the Vidhan Parishad, the chief is from the Scheduled Caste… As for you saying we’ve adopted the trishul, or began carrying malas (non secular threads), we’ve at all times been doing it… it’s in-built. We don’t do dhong (pretence). Whether it’s Goddess Parvati, Devi, Durga, or Lord Shiv or Ram… once I went to go to the Ram lalla (in Ayodhya), they requested what has Ram lalla bought to do with the BSP? I’ve been there tens of occasions… They might discuss Hindu, Hindu. We consider in taking everybody alongside… Left to them, they may end Sanatan Dharma in UP. Of the 1,500 Sanskrit schools within the state, solely 50% are left, as a result of they by no means paid the funds… The bhoomi pujan was completed in Ayodhya with a lot fanfare, spending Rs 200-250 crore on August 5, 2020. A 12 months later, there’s nothing there. I requested the sadhus there about it, they mentioned, ‘Didn’t you see, 5 bricks had been stored and prayers had been supplied to them. These had been later immersed within the Saryu’… Come Diwali, they may declare a file in lighting diyas. Why not spend the identical cash on the poor, give to lecturers?
DEEPTIMAN TIWARY: But will you make issues of Muslims a ballot concern?
The issues that they’ve are additionally our issues. As I already mentioned, whether or not it’s Muslims, Dalits, any caste, we’re working for everyone.
AVANEESH MISHRA: At the BSP’s September 7 occasion (marking the top of the primary section of its Brahmin outreach), a variety of issues that occurred are often seen on BJP platforms. The BJP sees it as an achievement of its politics.
You know that two days earlier than our occasion, the BJP additionally organised a ‘Prabuddha Sammelan (targeted at Brahmins)’. Before that, they had been attacking us, saying one shouldn’t maintain occasions like this, it’s flawed… Even the Samajwadi Party is holding such sammelans now… It’s one other matter that no person is coming for these. So who’s copying whom? They even stored the identical identify. And as to your declare that the September 7 occasion confirmed a modified BSP, rewind to June 9, 2005, once we had gone earlier than the Brahmin samaj, the higher caste samaj, and introduced the Dalits and them collectively. Mayawatiji was the chief visitor at that occasion and it attracted shut to five lakh individuals. Conch shells had been blown even then, she was introduced with a statue of Ganesha (like on September 7). Everyone is aware of what she mentioned, holding that statue, ‘Haathi nahin Ganesh hai, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh hai (Haathi or elephant is the poll symbol of the BSP)’… In our Prabuddha conferences throughout 75 districts, we’ve labored to take away their (BJP’s) masks and, present their actual faces.
BHUPENDRA PANDEY: Mayawati has mentioned that the BSP won’t give tickets to any bahubali or leaders convicted in instances (within the context of Mukhtar Ansari). She has at all times been severe about points regarding girls. Your Mau MP Atul Rai is in jail on rape prices, and lately, each the sufferer and a witness immolated themselves earlier than the Supreme Court. There has been no response from the BSP, nor has the social gathering taken any motion in opposition to Rai.
…Maybe there are some particulars you have no idea. There is a trial on within the court docket, the place proof emerged in police investigation that the 2 of them had tried to blackmail Rai utilizing fraudulent means, together with the false proof they’d submitted. Police then filed an FIR in opposition to the 2, and whereas the investigation was on they usually had been summoned earlier than the court docket, they disappeared… The court docket then mentioned that we’ve an accused (Rai) in jail, and proof has now come that the cost in opposition to him could be fabricated, in order that they must seem… Then the 2 of them appeared earlier than the Supreme Court and took that motion. It’s not like there was any strain (from Rai), he continues to be in jail.
RAVISH TIWARI: Won’t a triangular contest in UP, with the BSP not aligning with anybody, assist the BJP? Secondly, who will probably be your fundamental goal: Narendra Modi or Yogi Adityanath?
This is an election for UP, not the nation. On one aspect is Behenji and on the opposite aspect Yogiji. We are preventing this election to defeat the BJP. As for what different events are doing, we aren’t involved about that. We know we’ll uproot this authorities, like we eliminated the SP authorities in 2007. They had the surface assist of the BJP. Everyone is aware of this nicely… as to who helped the SP kind the federal government in 2003… The Supreme Court later dominated in our favour on this matter. So our struggle at the moment is in opposition to the BJP… I don’t see any benefit to the BJP from a triangular contest. The BJP would earlier win 40-45 seats, it will once more be diminished to the identical… Whatever the quantity, they may positively not make any features.