By Praveen Dwivedi
Bhopal, May 27 | Seven-time Congress MLA Govind Singh, who recently took charge as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Madhya Pradesh Assembly, in an exclusive interview with IANS said that Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia is “neither a big challenge in Gwalior-Chambal division nor an issue for the Congress”.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q: BJP terms the Supreme Court’s decision on OBC reservation its “victory” and accuses the Congress of creating hurdles time and again on the reservation issue. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says that the Congress moving the court was a sin. What do you say?
A: People know who is against reservation. During the last Bihar Assembly polls, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had said that there is no need for reservation in the country now and the BJP follows his agenda. Though he changed his statement later, but the truth had come out. On the contrary, the Congress introduced Mahajan Ayog during Arjun Singh’s tenure, which was the first initiative to provide reservation to the OBCs in the country.
Later, Digvijaya Singh-led Congress government introduced a reservation quota for OBCs and a proposal was passed to increase it from 14 per cent to 27. But, in the last 15 years, the BJP government pushed the matter into cold storage. Again, when Kamal Nath became the chief minister in 2018, he restarted the process and it was implemented in local bodies, but the BJP government changed it and brought an ordinance to conduct elections as the basis of the reservation system of 2014. It was the BJP that sinned not the Congress.
Q: But, the BJP claims that they have given three OBC chief ministers to Madhya Pradesh…
A: Yes, the BJP did give three OBC chief ministers but they should also tell us what they did for the community in the last 18 years. The party has nothing to say and that’s the reason they count the chief ministers. It should also declare the measures taken for a large population of OBCs or SC/ST in the state. How many OBC people were made officers or given jobs under their reservation quota?
Q: You held a meeting of party MLAs after taking charge as LoP. What is your strategy to take on the BJP government?
A: See, there is a huge difference between what BJP says and what it actually does. The BJP government’s strategy is avoid debates on public issues during the Assembly sessions. But, in the next session, Congress will ensure debates associated to common man.
Q: It has been seen that the Opposition often walks out of the House during sessions. How will you corner BJP then?
A: Since BJP is a visionless party, it does not debate on public issues like unemployment, atrocities against tribals, increasing crime against women, mafiyaraj etc. These subjects are out of its syllabus. Congress always debates on public issues, but the BJP leaders always enumerate Prime Minister Modi’s schemes. It means the state government has no vision and no work. In the last Assembly session, our leaders wrote to the Speaker seeking extension of the duration of the session to debate on crucial issues.
Q: Have you made any changes in the party’s strategy after taking over charge as LoP?
A: See, our single aim is to expose the BJP and we are working on it. We share ideas with each other and follow our president’s direction. Whoever will come forward to take over responsibilities, they will be assigned as per their expertise and commitment. I am hopeful that it will be discussed in the next meeting.
Q: BJP leaders allege that the Opposition frames its strategy sitting in rooms and not visiting on ground. How would you reply to this?
A: The Opposition will not function on BJP’s advice, and we do not bother what their leaders say. We do our work. Each Congress leader has a prominent role to play which they they are doing. BJP will get a befitting reply from the people of the state during the elections.
Q: Will Gwalior-Chambal division be a big challenge in the 2023 Assembly polls after Jyotiraditya Scindia shifted to the BJP?
A: Scindia is not an issue for the Congress, it is the media that makes it out to be. A leader, who was given so much importance but was defeated by a non-popular Congress worker, so it is proven that people do not trust him. People in the Gwalior-Chambal area are well aware of his dictatorial behaviour in the past. He used to be the sole decider of tickets but he took wrong decisions everytime. Therefore, Scindia is not an issue for the Congress.
Q: Recently, you attacked Scindia saying that the revolver that was used for killing Mahatma Gandhi was from Gwalior. What was the basis of this allegation?
A: I have not made allegations against the Scindia family. I just said that the revolver, which Nathuram Godse used to kill Gandhiji, was from Gwalior. Not even once did I say that it belonged to the Scindia family.
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