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Congress is a private limited company - The Observer

Posted By Krishnakant Udavant (kkant@bom2.vsnl.net.in)
February 9, 1998

Title: Congress is a private limited company
Publication: The Observer
Date: February 9, 1998

Son of Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and former Uttar
Pradesh cabinet minister Sunil Shastri joined the BJP only
recently to strengthen the party and pursue its ideologies.

President of the Jai Mazdoor Forum, an all India organisation
working for the cause of unorganised and exploited labour force,
Mr Shastri says there is a serious doubt in the minds of the
people even today regarding the circumstances in which his father
died in Tashkent in the erstwhile USSR.

Cherishing the values of his illustrious father, he feels the
Congress has deviated from its actual objectives and has become a
synonym for corruption.

Suresh Nautiyal spoke to Mm on various matters.

What compelled you to leave the Congress? Were you pained to
severe the umbilical cord?

The Congress has today lost its ideology and is limited to
factionalism and groupism. The very basic feeling, which the
Congress earlier had to take along everyone, is no more relevant
to the present leaders of the party. Not only me but many other
Congressmen made sincere efforts to bring inner democracy in the
party. But, the coterie, surrounding the Congress leadership,
dominated in all decision making, which has proved that the
Congress no more remained a national party. It has, in fact,
become a private limited company.

Being Shastriji's son, I have always thought of the people and
the country. Today, I am convinced that the BJP was one party
which was totally committed to build a strong and prosperous
India. This realisation made me join the BJP.

Your anger explains Itself that the Congress was not fair to you.

The Congress has not only been unfair to me but to all those who
were and are associated with the Congress.

Is the assassination of your father still a mystery?

Yes. In view of the reports coming from the Russian secret
agency, the KGB, I had requested the then Chandrashekhar
Government and then President R Venkataraman that the doubts
regarding suspicious death of Shastriji should be clarified.

Even today, lots of people all over the country put this question
to me and I feel that there is a serious doubt in the minds of
millions of Indians in this connection. Therefore, I would appeal
to the Government to constitute an inquiry and bring the facts
before the people.

Do you think subsequent governments have been biased against
Shastriji as a section of people believe he has not been given
his rightful place in history?

The Congress party ignored not only Shastriji but all the great
stalwarts who dedicated their life for the community like Sardar
Vallabh Bhai Patel, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Subhash Chandra Bose, and
Govind Ballabh Pant. And, obviously, this was a conspiracy to
promote only one family.

Did you join the BJP as the Congress party denied you a Lok Sabha
ticket from the East Delhi parliamentary constituency?

I had not asked for any ticket from the Congress party. It was
the people of the East Delhi constituency who wanted me to
contest the election from there. In fact, they in large number
approached the Congress leaders but I had decided to dissociate
myself from the Congress and join the BJP - much before the
announcement of the Congress candidate.

Do you think oin the BJP-syndrome' has its origin in sheer
opportunism? What about you?

The reason of people joining BJP is not opportunism but to ensure
stable government with able leadership of A B Vajpayee, which
would ensure a good governance - unfortunately not been provided
for a last few years. As regards myself, the disillusionment
factor has played a vital role in my taking this decision.

What about pursuing the ideals of your father since you have
rejected the party of his choice?

I am proud to be the son of an illustrious father. And, I
consider it as my duty to follow his great ideals. I would like
to create a feeling of oneness among the Indians to commemorate
the great work and sacrifice Shastriji did for the country. His
feelings for the jawans and kisan will be carried forward by me
and the BJP, hopefully.

There is a lot of talk about corruption, Bofors, Sonia Gandhi,
Quattrochi, ........

The Congress election manifesto has stated categorically in
regard to the mistakes committed by the party during last two
decades, particularly the Blue Star Operation, demolition of the
Babri Masjid, etc. I feel the most relevant mistake has been
omitted and that is seeking an apology for various scams which
have affected not only the people but also tarnished the image of
the country all over the world.

As regards Bofors, I am sure the facts would come before us once
the inquiry is completed.

And, the word corruption now is closely associated with the
Congress. I would not hesitate to say that the Congress stands
for corruption.

Will Sonia who Is not a citizen by birth, be able to become the
Prime Minister in case the Congress forms the next government at
the Centre?

The question does not arise because the Congress is no way near
the formation of the new government.

What do you think about the BJP's stand on the Article 370,
Uniform Civil Code and Ayodhya?

All these issues have been illustrated in the BJP manifesto and
once the party comes to power, it will take into account all the
aspects before formulating a policy including the common minimum
programme, which in my opinion, is only a post-election

How do you see the prevailing political scenario In the country?
What role do you visualise for the BJP?

It seems the voters of the country have decided to install a
stable Government at the Centre and this has given additional
strength to the BJP in these elections. But, once the BJP forms
the Government at the Centre, the responsibility would be of
great magnitude. I am confident that able Prime Minister like Mr
Vajpayee will shoulder that responsibility and fulfil the tasks
which have been elaborated in the BJP manifesto.

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