| New Delhi |
Updated: August 20, 2020 3:20:22 am
AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who has spent the past few weeks trying to make inroads into Uttar Pradesh for his party, on facing FIRs in the state and why his focus appears to be on caste instead of ‘kaam’.
What was the extensive tour of UP all about?
I visited various districts. First, I met families of the eight policemen killed during the raid on Vikas Dubey; families of all those murdered, including journalist Vikram Joshi, trader Brijesh Pal, the Lakhimpuri Kheri minor, the Jaunpur Dalit rape victim’s family, the Nishad family in Kanpur, Sudeeksha Bhati’s family in Bulandshahr, among others. I tried to gauge the mood of the people and found discontent and anger, especially over crime and the Covid situation. CM Yogi (Adityanath) is sitting on a volcano, waiting for it to explode.
You’re suggesting that a government that rose to power flattening traditional caste equations, with an overwhelming majority, has turned so unpopular within three years?
Whoever raised questions in the past faced oppression. The government of UP hates being questioned. They have lodged nine FIRs against me. I am not the first victim. A journalist at Mirzapur reporting on mid-day meals also faced an FIR. A journalist reporting on the sand mafia in Unnao was killed. And the latest victim was Vikram Joshi. UP mein aaj opposition naam ki koi cheez bachi nahi hai… Only SP and BSP can comment on why they are not questioning the government; what can I say? People in UP believe the government belongs to one community. Is this Ram Rajya?
But are the FIRs not helping you gain the limelight?
He is trying to turn me into a history sheeter. Tomorrow, NSA might be levelled against me, or something worse may happen to me. I am not worried. I have raised my concerns with the Vice-President of India, who is the chairman of Rajya Sabha of which I am a member. I have taken oath in the name of the Constitution and that bars governments from working for one particular caste or community.
You’re saying you feel unsafe in UP?
Yes, 100 per cent… My only fault is that I am seeking justice for all 24 crore people, be it Brahmins, Mauryas, Rajbhars, Nishads, Pals, Gujjars, Jaats, Yadavs, Khatiks, Kurmis, Lodhs, everyone. I face FIRs. But why are leaders like Sakshi Maharaj, Giriraj Singh, Pragya Thakur not acted against?
What is the basis of your allegation that the UP government works only for the Thakur community?
I have figures to prove that. How many thanedars, DMs, SPs and senior officials come from other communities? This, despite a 2002 order on the need to maintain balance in recruitment. The Brahmins and other communities have clearly been targeted.
In Delhi, AAP talks about politics of work, while in UP the emphasis is on caste?
But where am I not talking about politics of work? I am merely saying that the government should work for every community. I am saying you want to work for the Thakurs, please do, but keep the interest of all 24 crore people of the state in mind as well.
The AAP chief hasn’t touched on this issue.
Does PM Modi comment on the activities of all BJP units? In our case, Jarnail Singh has been made in-charge of Punjab, so he will speak on Punjab. I am in charge of UP, so I will speak on UP. If something really major happens, then the CM will also speak.
Can a party like AAP really compete with the BJP in such a large state?
We won Delhi fighting polls with the support of donations. We brought 22 seats in Punjab through donation-led campaigns. We will also fight UP. Right now, the focus is on the ‘oxi mitras’ campaign through which we are reaching out to people of UP.
Congress is also making a push in Uttar Pradesh, with Priyanka Gandhi leading the way.
See, we are not facing any threat from any party. We are focusing on organisation building and questioning the government. People will decide base hai ya nahi hai (whether or not our party has a base).
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