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Uma flays Rahul, says she is in UP for the poor

Jan 20, 2012 07:49 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: In an interview with IBN 18 IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, BJP leader Uma Bharti flayed the Congress and the BSP, saying that she would "make it sure" that the two parties "bite the dust" in Uttar Pradesh and the BJP returned to power in the state. Speaking to Sardesai, she added that she was not the BJP's chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh, but was more like a "chowkidaar", guarding the interests of the party in the state. Here is the full text of the interview: Rajdeep Sardesi: Hello and welcome. Good afternoon, India. In Uttar Pradesh, the poll temperature is hotting up. In Bundelkhand, we saw fireworks yesterday between Uma Bharti, who will now contest from the Bundelkhand region, and Rahul Gandhi, the Congress’ star campaigner on the campaign trail. Uma Bharti had responded to Rahul Gandhi’s barb that Uma Bharti was missing when farmers were dying in Bundelkhand and that she had been imported from Madhya Pradesh. Uma hit back saying that she had already defeated Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh and she could do the same to his pupil in UP this time. Let’s listen in first to the two star campaigners of the national parties. Rahul: From Madhya Pradesh, a new BJP leader has come. Where was she when Bundelkhand was crying? Uma Bharti: If Italy’s Sonia Gandhi has been accepted in India, why can’t I be accepted? I am from Madhya Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi must first keep his mother’s background in mind and then comment on his aunt (referring to herself). Rajdeep Sardesai: As the battle then is drawn… battlelines are drawn in Uttar Pradesh. Joining us now is the BJP star campaigner for Uttar Pradesh, Uma Bharti, is with us. Appreciate Uma ji, your joining us. The BJP’s decision Uma ji, to get you to contest the elections in UP, appears to have given the Congress an issue to beat the BJP with. Rahul Gandhi yesterday called you an outsider, who has migrated from UP to Madhya Pradesh, suggesting that it showed the bankruptcy of the UP BJP leadership, that Uma Bharti had to migrate from Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh. Uma ji, respond to that. Are you an outsider in Uttar Pradesh? Are you an outsider in Bundelkhand? Uma Bharti: I think it was very unfortunate yesterday, the way Rahul Gandhi commented. And I don’t wish to continue this debate today and I request all the media and all the political parties who are contesting in Uttar Pradesh elections that please have pity, and have mercy on the people of that state. They are suffering with crime and corruption. Let us focus on those issues. Rajdeep Sardesai: But Uma ji, yesterday Rahul Gandhi said this, that when the people of Uttar Pradesh or particularly Bundelkhand were suffering, where was Uma Bharti? Uma Bharti is from Madhya Pradesh. Why were you not there with the people of Bundelkhand when they are suffering? You are an outsider, in Uttar Pradesh… Uma Bharti: I will not answer to the outsider, because I have already answered it yesterday and I do not want to continue with it today. But, the first question which you have asked, I will request Nehru-Gandhi family to read about others also and to know about others also. They are too self-engrossed people, self-obsessed people, and they are not aware of others’ activities. I’ll tell him to read the newspapers. It is not good to appreciate myself, I feel ashamed of it, that I have to say it that I was going to the Bundelkhand people. And if Rahul Gandhi is not aware of it, then the reason is that because he is too self-obsessed. Rajdeep Sardesai: You are saying Rahul Gandhi is too self-obsessed, but Ma’am even within the BJP, there is some resentment among the old guard and a number of senior leaders are unhappy that you are being given so much of importance – is the BJP a divided house in Uttar Pradesh this time? Is it a Hindu divided parivar? You are an outsider even within the BJP in Uttar Pradesh? Uma Bharti: Uttar Pradesh leadership – that includes Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra ji, Surya Pratap Shahi ji, Lal Jeet Tandon ji, Vinay Katiyar ji and many more respected leaders. They never considered me an outsider. They always respected me and I’m the person who got the privilege from Uttar Pradesh BJP. It was a special privilege given to me, that when I was out of BJP, even then I used to have dinner with Rajnath Singh ji. Even then, Kalraj Mishra ji used to honour me in his house. Lal Jeet Tandon used to give me dinner and a big festival in my honour. So they have always honoured me and they have never accepted my being thrown out from the BJP. They have always considered me a part of BJP, even when I was not in BJP. Rajdeep Sardesai: But that was when you were not made a candidate for Uttar Pradesh. Since you have been made a candidate of Uttar Pradesh, Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra are of course doing their own yatras, Vinay Katiyar is pushing his own agenda. Nitin Gadkari, it is said, has inducted you to checkmate his rivals within the party. You are now a candidate in Uttar Pradesh. Are you the chief ministerial candidate of the party… Who is the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh… These are all the questions that are being asked, Uma ji. Uma Bharti: To become the candidate or not to become the candidate, in which election to fight - Parliament or Assembly, I left every decision to Nitin Gadkari. Nitin Gadkari is the party president. He will never take any decision which is against his own party colleagues. So he must have consulted with them and I… I think I have no right to comment on the issues of the party president. Rajdeep Sardesai: You are not being used to checkmate the other leaders in the party? Uma Bharti: I… always… I think since 7-8 months’ time, I am always with them. I don’t see any resentment. I don’t know why you are seeing it Rajdeep. Rajdeep Sardesai: I want to be more direct. Are you the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh now? Is Uma Bharti the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh? Uma Bharti: I will be… I think more direct than you. And my answer is, I am not a chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh. Rajdeep Sardesai: Then what are you? Uma Bharti: I am fighting the election and I am there to make it sure that BJP forms the government. I am there to make it sure that OBC get their quota back and I want to make it sure that minorities can rise without even the quota, and that has been proved in Gujarat and that will be proved in Uttar Pradesh. Rajdeep Sardesai: But you know, Uma ji, you mentioned OBCs. Is it not true that the BJP is playing the OBC card in UP this time? First, they roped in Babu Singh Kushwaha. After the controversy over his induction, the party has now turned to you because they don’t have a strong OBC leader. Kalyan Singh is no longer with the party. You are being used to play the OBC card in Uttar Pradesh. Uma Bharti: There I can agree with you in a manner. That is that the OBC of the state have supported Mulayam Singh, who has deceived the OBC people. Mayawati has cheated OBCs, because Mayawati and Mulayam Singh kept quiet when UPA govt took away the share of the OBCs. And I don’t say that it should not be given and the minorities should not rise… They should have an economical rise… We must support them. But you cannot feed one poor person, by cutting the throat of another poor person. And it was a great sin when Mulayam Singh and Mayawati kept quiet. And I think this is a punishable crime and people will punish them for it. Rajdeep Sardesai: But Uma ji, twenty years ago, if you remember, the BJP spoke of a Ram Mandir in UP, you were one of the leaders of that entire campaign for a Ram Mandir. Now you are playing the caste card. Is the party a bit confused, where does Ram Mandir stand… Now you are talking about caste and development politics. What happened to the Uma Bharti of twenty years ago, and the Hindutva and Ram Mandir politics? Uma Bharti: It goes together. Even when Kalyan Singh was chief minister, Rajnath Singh was chief minister, Ram Mandir movement was on. We continued to do the development, and we are working for the Ram Temple also. Same is the case in Gujarat. When I was the chief minister… Rajdeep Sardesai: Is the Ram Mandir still an issue? Is Ram Mandir still an issue in Uttar Pradesh? Uma Bharti: Ram Mandir is the issue, that’s why you are asking the question. Otherwise, you see, it is not an issue for Uma Bharti. It is an issue for you too. Rajdeep Sardesai: No no… is it an issue now in today’s Uttar Pradesh? Is today’s Uttar Pradesh… Uma Bharti: It is relevant. Its relevance will continue till the Mandir is constructed there. Rajdeep Sardesai: But, you know, Uma ji tell me honestly. Isn’t it true that you have been virtually forced into Uttar Pradesh because Shivraj Singh Chouhan refused to allow you into Madhya Pradesh? Because once the BJP leadership had exiled you, you needed your own space. Madhya Pradesh was not willing to give it to you. Therefore you had to go to Uttar Pradesh. Uma Bharti: My fielding in Uttar Pradesh… why it was decided… Nitin Gadkari ji knows the answer best. But I want to come up to his expectations... I want to come up to the expectations of the party workers. I want to make it sure that Mulayam Singh, Mayawati and Congress bite the dust there and we win and we form the government there. That is where my honesty lies. Rajdeep Sardesai: But where is your heart? Is your heart in Madhya Pradesh, where you have done all your politics and where Shivraj Singh Chouhan doesn’t allow you to function, or is it in Uttar Pradesh, where you are now being forced into a fight with Mulayam and Mayawati? Uma Bharti: Okay don’t laugh when I will say something. My heart belongs to Ganga. My heart belongs to poor and my heart belongs to cow. And wherever they are, the poor, even across the country, even in African countries… When the African countries were fighting for their independence, I took part there also. My heart belongs to the poor people. My heart belongs to Ganga. Rajdeep Sardesai: But what happened to Madhya Pradesh, the state where you were once the chief minister of? Uma Bharti: My heart belongs to the whole country. My heart belongs to Rajdeep also. Rajdeep Sardesai: Your heart belongs to me also. It’s very nice to hear that. But Uma ji, tell me, be honest. You had a difficult relationship with the BJP leadership in recent years. A few years ago, you walked out of the party, you attacked the leadership. If you don’t succeed in UP, will you walk out again? Are you here to stay now in the party, or are you only here to stay for this Uttar Pradesh election? Uma Bharti: I think first I have to set the record straight. I never quit BJP. It is BJP who decided to throw me out. So they have made the change in their decision. I have always wanted to remain in BJP, and I requested, you are witness to that, when I was being thrown out from the party, I requested BJP not to throw me out. Now I am very happy that I am back to the party. And through you, through your channel, I can say, nobody needs to be scared of me. I give my full support to Shivraj Singh Chauhan. And the only person who needs to be scared of me is right now, Mayawati. She has to be out from the power. Congress have no place in Uttar Pradesh. Samajwadi Party cannot come back because people do not have short memory of Uttar Pradesh. People… they have good memory about Samajwadi Party’s rule. And I can say that the people of Uttar Pradesh, they are going to… I am not a chief ministerial candidate, as I have told you, and I am completely telling with… sincerely… and it’s a very direct answer, that I am not in the race of being a chief minister. But definitely, I am in the race of being a kind of a guard for the state and that will be my role always, even when we form the government. Rajdeep Sardesai: You are a chowkidaar. You are the BJP’s new chowkidaar… Is it? Uma Bharti: Yes I am a chowkidaar. In Hindi, I can say the slogan that I am not mukhyamantri pad ka daavedar, but I am a chowkidaar. Rajdeep Sardesai: You are a chowkidaar. That sounds very nice and you are saying that Mayawati should fear you but all the opinion polls are showing that this is a battle between Mayawati and Mulayam, and the BJP and Congress are fighting for third and fourth place. You will not accept that, that today, the national parties are struggling in Uttar Pradesh. Today it’s Mayawati’s raj in Uttar Pradesh, Uma Bharti is still the outsider in Uttar Pradesh. Uma Bharti: I will not question the polls and their authenticity… I will say one thing that people mind keep changing. I will try to change people’s mind and I will try to put my party number one. Rajdeep Sardesai: You will try to put your party number one and you are claiming that your party is behind you, it is not a divided Hindu parivar, am I right? Uma Bharti: Ya, because I don’t see any resentment. I meet all the leaders everyday. Rajdeep Sardesai: Okay my final question to you – the question of the heart. I am going to ask you one last time, because I have to ask you that. Where is your heart? Is it in Haridwar, by the Ganga? Is it in Uttar Pradesh, fighting Mayawati and Mulayam, or is it in Madhya Pradesh to once again become the chief minister of that state. Be honest, you are a politically ambitious woman. Where is your political next ambition? Uma Bharti: My heart belongs to Ganga… and Ganga flows through Uttar Pradesh. Rajdeep Sardesai: Ganga flows through Uttar Pradesh. Uma Bharti ji, we will have to see whether your heart and your head, both go in the right direction, in this election in Uttar Pradesh. Thank you very much for joining us here on CNN-IBN. Thank you. Uma Bharti: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Rajdeep Sardesai: Uma Bharti there, claiming that she is very much the party’s chowkidaar, in Uttar Pradesh. Back to Ananya and Simi for the rest of news.