We Focus on People’s Everyday’s Problems to Confront Modi, Says Yogendra Yadav

Hyderabad: Yogendra Yadav from the Bharat Jodo Abhiyan, an umbrella body of civil society organisations that has thrown its weight behind the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, is leaving no stone unturned in driving home its message.

In an interview to Deccan Chronicle, he regrets that we have come to such a pass now that BJP president J.P. Nadda thinks the idea of bridging income inequality is a Maoist idea and not an objective as part of the directive principles of state policy.

Q Why are you calling the 2024 general elections as the most unfair and unequal election?

Yadav: There has always been some degree of unevenness in the electoral arena. The ruling party had more money power and state power and enjoyed preferential treatment by the media. There have been state-level elections which have been completely unfair. The elections in Punjab in 1982, and Assam in 1983 were boycotted by people. The polls in Bengal in 1972 were rigged and the Kashmir polls of 1987 were a joke. But so far no national election has come in this category, not even the one in 1977.

The media has never targeted the opposition actively unlike now. The Election Commission has not been so partisan ever. The resignation and appointment of new members to the body was akin to giving a chance to one of the teams to choose the referee in a football match. Twenty crore people are being called ghuspaithiye and the EC sends notice to the party president Nadda instead of the Prime Minister.

After Surat, now a Congress candidate from Indore has withdrawn his candidature from the Lok Sabha campaign. Such things happen in panchayat polls. Why did all contenders withdraw after the Congress candidate withdrew in Surat? This is a blot on our democracy. The EC had during Vajpayee’s tenure in 2002 called election commissioners from 70 countries and asked me to deliver a lecture on democracy.

Q What role do you see for the civil society organisations in the general elections now? What impact do you think this campaign has had so far?

Yadav: The civil society has come together under the banner of Bharat Jodo Abhiyan. Our role is to approach various sections like traders, Dalits, farmers, minorities and human rights activists and bring them together. Our teams are working in some constituencies on the ground. In Telangana, we are working in Mahbubnagar, Zaheerabad, Chevella, Secunderabad, Karimnagar, Adilabad and Nizamabad constituencies.

Q What do you think is the narrative that can bring the people together in the present circumstances?

Yadav: When PM Narendra Modi is being projected, we are focusing on the mudda (issue) and there is our narrative and we talk of real issues of the people. When they rake in Hindu-Muslim issues, we are talking of jawan and kisan, and the talk of mandir is fended off by talking of mehangai (price rise). The bulldozer is being pitted with talk of berojgari (employment). When they use money to spread lies, we are spreading the truth of Manipur.

Q Do you think the opposition I.N.D.I.A. bloc has been able to do that? What do you think are the shortcomings of the alliance if any?

The I.N.D.I.A. bloc has done less than what was needed, hence the need for us to pitch in. The manifesto of the Congress has addressed a few pain points of the people. It would have helped if the parties had come up with a joint declaration or guarantees.

Q What is your opinion on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Aravind Kejriwal and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren?

We are treading on the path of Russia. All legal arguments put forward on their arrest are a distraction. Probe into the liquor policy has been happening for two years now. Why not wait for another two months? There is no danger of them running away. It should be remembered that I have criticised the Delhi liquor policy. Even a child now knows that inconvenient players are being removed from the field. Based on suspicion, half of Modi’s cabinet can be arrested after the exposure of electoral bonds. What is happening now is 100 times worse than the dislodging of N.T. Rama Rao in united AP in 1983.

Q. How is the present situation different from the emergency imposed between 1975 and 1977?

The Emergency then was visible unlike now when it is invisible and more difficult to expose. The Emergency then ended after the period. They are not even pretending and are brazenly deciding who has to be the CM of a State. Moreover, there was no targeting of a community and being reduced to second grade citizens.

Q. Why do you think the political rhetoric of the BJP has changed after the first phase of elections spearheaded by none other than the Prime Minister?

Post Ayodhya temple consecration the BJP thought it would be a cake walk for them. But in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, they are falling short by 10 seats in each of them. So after realising that leaving alone 400 or even 300 would be difficult for them, Modi has fallen back on their tried and tested rhetoric of whipping up communal passions. He knows that the economy is in shambles, with rural distress, massive unemployment, livelihood crisis and farmers are angry. But the EC is just watching. People know everything, I trust them. public sab janti hai (public knows everything).

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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