Third Front is a pipedream

Third Front is a pipedream

It's a myth that Muslims don't vote for Modi You are involved in preparing the BJP Vision Document to woo Minorities. But don't you think Modi is...

It's a myth that Muslims don't vote for Modi

shan awaz

You are involved in preparing the BJP Vision Document to woo Minorities. But don't you think Modi is an anathema to Muslims and will not vote for him? That is the myth we want to explode. Muslims in Gujarat vote overwhelmingly for Modi, as they have all benefited from Modi's good governance model, which can be replicated at the Centre. The other so-called secular parties use Muslims as vote-bank, which we want to expose. Once we unveil the Vision Documents for the Minorities, this will become clear.

Don't you think Narendra Modi, who sharply divided your party, will similarly polarise the polity? Narendra Modi has performed a hat-trick in Gujarat, winning three successive State Assembly elections. Clearly, he has wider appeal, which is why his appeal extends to all sections of the society. It is the Congress party, which has used the Muslims as nothing more than a vote bank. Muslims have understood this and now they are looking for a leadership that does not view them that way. Modi represents that leadership, which will appeal to the Muslims. The BJP has just passed through a serious crisis, when party patriarch L K Advani resigned from party posts, though he has relented later. Don't you think it has marred the image of the party? The BJP will emerge stronger with every passing crisis. It is true that the party did face a crisis. But the party also acted with alacrity to resolve the crisis. Our detractors were hoping the party will break up. Nothing of the sort has happened. In fact, while every major political party, like the Communist Party of India, the Congress and the Janata Dal have split, the BJP has never split. The BJP enjoys ideological cohesion that is unknown in other political parties. Has it not tarnished the image of L K Advani? Advani is the tallest leader not only in the party but also in the country. The entire party united to reach out to him and urge him to reverse his decision. Advani has the stature of a family elder and has the right to chide us and advise us on party matters. We see nothing wrong in it. With all issues resolved, the party is bound to emerge that much stronger.

Moves are afoot for the formation of the Third Front or the Federal Front, with the coming together of all non-Congress, non-BJP and regional parties. How does the BJP look at it? Third Front is a pipedream. It can never materialise. India may not have the two-party system like in some Western countries, but certainly, as Advani always says, the BJP has made Indian polity bipolar. One pole is the Congress-led alliance and the other pole is the BJP-led alliance. There is no third alternative. There were two instances of Third Front governments. One was the National Front Government, which was supported by the BJP and the Left Front in 1989. The other was the United Front Government in 1996, which was supported by the Congress. Here I would like point out two issues. One, it is not non-BJP and non-Congress alternative, as these were propped up by these very parties, which they seek to oppose. Second, it is quite a long time ago since such experiments took place. Since that point in time, both the BJP and the Congress have moved on into the driver's seat and there is no question of either of the two parties sitting out and propping up Third Front government. How confident are you about the poll prospects of the BJP? The UPA Government has earned the dubious distinction of being the most corrupt government since Independence. In a parliamentary democracy the natural advantage goes to the principal Opposition party. We are able to build upon this natural advantage we have got. We have a galaxy of leadership, who guide and steer the party. BJP Campaign Committee Chairman Narendra Modi is the most popular face, who appeals to people across the spectrum � youth, women and middle-class.

Will corruption be the main plank? If it is not the only issue, certainly it will be one of the main issues. There has been massive loot of public money. Patronage and involvement of people at the very top of the Congress helped in that process. In coalgate, the biggest of these scams, involving a loot of Rs 1.87 lakh crore, the role of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is under serious scrutiny because he was also Coal Minister at the relevant period. When the Supreme Court began monitoring the CBI investigation in coalgate, a former Law Minister and officials tried to interfere and change the status report to dilute evidence against the highest in the land, in this case the Prime Minister.

The highest posts in Railway Board were sold by the family of the Railway Minister. The Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi tried to protect this minister even in the face of national outrage. The massive corruption in allotment of 2G licences by Telecom Minister remains one of the most shameful stories in independent India as the Prime Minister and Finance Minister P Chidambaram have a lot to explain. Shockingly, their role is not being investigated at all.

The BJP has often targeted the Congress for weakening institutions. Your reaction? The Congress-led UPA has deliberately and consistently weakened and disregarded democratic institutions. Some appointments to august bodies like the Election Commission, National Human Rights Commission and CVC have been highly questionable. Legitimate concerns have been brushed aside with impunity. Senior Ministers have publicly criticised CAG when it has stood up, with integrity, and done its duty by the Constitution and the people by exposing financial improprieties of the government. The manner in which Congress tried to belittle the sanctity of an important parliamentary institution like the JPC forced members of this body, cutting across party lines, to seek the removal of JPC Chairman.

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