Rajasthan polls: Ex-BJP MLA who formed Bharat Vahini party says public wants 'viable alternative' to BJP, Congress

Earlier this year, former Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari formed the Bharat Vahini party after resigning from the BJP. He recently announced the ‘Third Front’ in the form of a coalition with Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, launched by Hanuman Beniwal (another former BJP MLA).

Tiwari spoke about his plans for Rajasthan:

Ghanshyam Tiwari formed the Bharat Vahini party after resigning from the BJP. Image courtesy: Rangoli Agrawal

Ghanshyam Tiwari formed the Bharat Vahini party after resigning from the BJP. Image courtesy: Rangoli Agrawal

What response do you expect for the ‘Third Front’?

The janata (residents) of Rajasthan want a change from both national parties. They needed a viable alternative for the required change. We have given them a programme and idea-based option. I am assuming that voters will accept this alternative.

During the rally you spoke about how corruption was increasing. How do you plan to curb it?

Corruption runs from the top through to the bottom, not the other way around. This also leads to exploitation because the person who is supposed to hear complaints against corruption is the one who is actually corrupt. This gives a free hand to the ones at the lower levels. So, if we only allow honest people at the top, corruption will be automatically restrained. In addition, changes need to be made in facilities and ways of working.

What facilities and issues you are planning to address in your manifesto?

We have talked about four issues in particular:

a) Reservation: As far as arrangements and facilities are concerned, our prime focus is social issues and economic justice. All parties and castes have accepted our formula. For example, we will not mess with the current reservation system, but will get additional reservation for economically-deprived sections: poor Brahmins, Rajputs, Kayasths, and Muslims will get 14 percent reservation. Only 32% will be open for general category. The government has the authority to bring it under ‘Aarakshan Adhiktam Seema Adhiropan Kanoon’ for the same.

b) Debt-free farmers: The other thing we want is ‘debt-free’ farmers who have a proper supply of electricity. We define ‘debt-free’ in two ways: The total debt by farmers in Rajasthan is Rs 82,000 crore, this does not include debts with industrialists. We will only focus on agricultural loans and loans taken after giving land as security. We have given a bailout plan of Rs 60,000 crore to the Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam.

The problem is not to make farmers free of debt once, it is to ensure that the same farmers do not become debt-ridden again. This can be solved by focusing on the inputs of agriculture: A farmer already has land, and has to pay for electricity, manure, seeds and labour. The biggest cost is electricity and labour, which if given free, the minimum support price will be achievable. We will transfer labour under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) being used for unimportant tasks, to agriculture. This will ensure 75 percent labour from the scheme. We will also draw solar power. This way, agriculture will become profitable.

c) Water scarcity: Another thing we want to focus on is water. The government is not bringing out a long-term solution for the decreasing water table in Rajasthan. They only implement contingency plans and dig tubewells, which further decreases the water table. If we don’t understand this as a problem now, the coming generation will face it in the next 10 years. We will collect flood water from eastern Rajasthan under a special scheme and prepare a long-term solution for the issue.

d) Employment: The final thing to be worked on is employment. There are three types of resources. The first way is through government recruitment. Our national border runs about 746 kilometres in Rajasthan. We will build more police stations on the border, so we require more police strength. The other sectors with a lot of vacancies are education and health. We will increase recruitment by 2 lakh employees. A new battalion will be created for the border police. We will also train more people to be technicians.

Which caste or section of Rajasthan will you focus on during elections?

If someone is working in a politics, he should not have caste-related concerns but should focus on caste development. Brahmins, Rajputs, Vaishyas, Kayasths, Muslims not under OBC category, Sindhis, Punjabi and Jains, repeatedly highlight that even they are poor, and their children should also get reservation. The reservation we introduce will be ‘sarv-jan-hitay-sarv-jan-sukhay’. Other castes like SCs and STs too have received reservation, but there are many children who have been deprived of the benefits of the schemes. We will also give them priority.

What is the aim of collaboration with Hanuman Beniwal?

The collaboration aims to get Rajasthan out of the category of ‘BIMARU’ states. In the past 20 years, Congress and BJP (each being in power for 10 years), have worked towards getting the state into BIMARU category.

What were your reasons for leaving BJP?

I became MLA seven times, but it is only counted as six times because once the Assembly got dissolved the day I was announced as a MLA. BJP left Janata Party on theoretical grounds, and I left BJP for the same reason. BJP has lost its internal democracy. What is now left is corruption, dictatorship and rule of just one person. A feudal system has been re-established in the party. We belong to the Jay Prakash government, we cannot bear such actions.

What areas were not addressed by BJP in the past five years?

There are several areas and castes for which the BJP did nothing in the past five years. For example, if they would’ve started the refinery on time and not shut it, Rajasthan would have benefited by Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 6,000 crore today.  The second is the canal in eastern Rajasthan which they were reminded about several times, but did nothing about. They have disappointed government employees, the unemployed, Brahmins, Baniyas and Rajputs. They cannot claim economic development in any area because they have not done any work. They have only focused on revenue collection. BJP will get the least number of seats under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in this election.

Rangoli Agrawal is a Jaipur-based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com


Updated Date: Nov 10, 2018 16:47 PM

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