New Delhi: Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s International Joint Secretary Surendra Jain was in New Delhi on Friday and spoke to News18’s Uday Singh Rana in an interview about the government’s delay in bringing about a law to construct a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the ongoing farmers protests in Madhya Pradesh and the caste violence that rocked Saharanpur last month. Edited excerpts:
Q. The BJP is in full majority in the Center and in Uttar Pradesh. It’s been three years since the Modi government has been in power. Even if the matter is in court, the government can surely pass a law rather than let the issue drag on. Why do you think there is a delay?
A. We don’t think that there is a delay, the country seems to think that there is a delay in the Ram Mandir law. And that sentiment rang out at a recent conclave of saints in Haridwar, where they asked the government to bring out a law for the construction of the Temple in Ayodhya. It is natural for people to expect this of the Modi government. It was their promise. When no positive steps are seen in this direction, the dissatisfaction will surely show. The saints expressed this but they also showed hope. If anyone can construct a Ram Mandir, it is this government. And I have no doubt that they will construct the temple.
Q. But such deadlines have been given before by other outfits such as the Hindu Mahasabha. What makes you think the government will stick to yours?
A. That outfit that took the Ram Mandir movement to its peak was the VHP. 16 crore people got involved with our movement at different points of time. People take us seriously.
Q. Are you planning a movement or another Yatra if the government fails to stick to the deadline?
A. This announcement was not made by us but by the saints in Haridwar. We will carry out whatever order they give us. We will follow whatever consensus emerges among the saints at the Dharma Sansad in November. And they have clearly articulated their demands. These saints are not VHP workers. We are workers for them. If we have to raise an issue, then we will raise it with them.
Q. In UP, the Congress and other parties have alleged discriminations against Dalits after the Saharanpur riots. Do you agree?
A. This is the character of the Congress. They have never cared about national interest or society’s interest, but only their own. All radical elements are propped up by Congress. Those days are not old when they propped up Bhindrawale to undermine one of their factions in Punjab or when they triggered riots in Gujarat to undermine then Chief Minister Hitendra Desai. They trained LTTE people and then sent the army to kill them too. The politics they are doing in Saharanpur and Madhya Pradesh are now clear.
Q. Some would argue that there was a Hindutva wave that led to the BJP victory in the 2017 UP elections. After the Saharanpur caste riots, has that wave dissipated?
A. It is true that people rose above caste lines in the 2017 polls and were seen as coming together. Naturally, those who divide society will be frustrated. Why is it that the riots did not spread beyond Saharanpur? It is because people belonging to all castes rejected divisive politics. Only a handful of people are buying into this. The yatras for Dr. BR Ambedkar and Maharana Pratap were politicized for political interests only.
Q. When you speak of the Ambedkar Yatra, you surely remember that the local BJP MP was accused of inciting local Muslims by raising ‘Jai Shri Ram’ questions.
A. Even if ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans were raised, it doesn’t give anybody the right to pelt stones. Muslims start any good deed by saying ‘Inshallah’. When Hindus don’t get bothered by Allah’s name, why should Muslims have a problem with Ram’s name? The common Muslim does not object to any of this. Political parties like the Congress create these fault lines for political gain. At our core, Hindus and Muslims are all the same people.
Q. What would you say to Dalits who say that the BJP and Sangh Parivar only remember them during elections but forget them later?
A. There are only a handful of people who believe this. This is not the voice of the people. If that were the case, why would BJP have the highest number of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and OBC MPs? Even if you see in terms of proportion, BJP has the highest number. This is the voice of parties who are losing support and are getting frustrated. How does an outfit (Bhim Army), which had no standing, grow so quickly? Clearly, there is some conspiracy behind this.
Q. In addition to Ram Mandir, the other big promise of the Modi government was that they would implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee report. Farmers in Madhya Pradesh have been on the warpath, fighting for the latter. Has the government not failed to deliver these two major promises?
A. The dissatisfaction against the delay in implementation is clear. From saints to streets, everyone is now speaking up. Three years have gone but I am looking at the two years that are left. There is enough time for both these promises to be implemented. The government should implement the Swaminathan Committee report recommendations since they had raised the issue and farmers had trusted them. They should bring out a plan and reveal it to the country. Ram Mandir is also a big issue. There are a large number of BJP voters who want Mandir, Uniform Civil Code and action against Bangladeshi infiltrators. Even BJP workers want this. And I think they (Modi government) know this too. I am sure they will take the right steps in this direction.
Q. Do you think Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has failed to contain the violence in his state? And was it right for the MP Police to shoot protesting farmers?
A. I come from Harayana, which has seen a bigger agrarian protest than this one. It took a month to bring it under control. Here, the situation has come under control in a week. So it would be wrong to say the state government has failed. They have not showed any lapse and they are now releasing the names of the conspirators who were fuelling the violence. The firing incident is being investigated. The farmers should not have been fired at, under any circumstances. Who was responsible for creating these circumstances? Remember, the government never gave the order.