The by elections in Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana is proving to be a challenge for the ruling BJP in the state. During the 2014 General Elections the BJP had won the seat, which also witnessed the rout of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashta Lok Dal. However, after winning the by-elections in Gorakhpur and Phoolpur, the opposition, led by SP and BSP has rallied behind the RLD candidate.
In an interview with WION, RLD vice president Jayant Chaudhary, a former MP, and the grandson of former PM Chaudhary Charan Singh, who is spearheading the campaign in Kairanabelieves that the RLD will win the bypolls. Excerprts.
Is RLD confident of winning the Kairana by elections?
We will win the by elections. The economy is doing poorly and the agrarian crisis has affected a number of families. During this campaign, we have gone back to grassroots and asked people to talk about issues that directly impacted them. I have conducted 145 such meetings, none of which were massive rallies. Further, our coalition is working in harmony and the SP-BSP cadres are working well together. Our workers are also monitoring the national development, as they feel that the BJP can be taught a lesson in this election.
The 2013 riots created polarization that wiped out the RLD during the general elections. What is different today that makes you believe that the Jat community will vote for you once again?
Social alliance broke after the 2013 riots (Muzaffarnagar). Tension between Hindus and Muslims made it difficult for the community to work together. However, since then we have built bridges and people do want to move on. We will beat polarization by bringing people together. We failed to recognize the tension prior to 2013 and as a result could not effectively resolve it.
Is the grand alliance a good idea?
The grand alliance is in national interest. There are differences , which can be ironed out. RSS says that regional partiers have always failed. Regional parties can take on Modi. All that is required is a coherent strategy.
Big alliances in past have never completed the term ever…
We are jumping the gun. Politics always throw up surprises. Life is not linear and history does not always repeat itself.
Can a grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh defeat BJP?
It is happening. At the regional level, votes can be transferred. Real cooperation can take place between regional parties. Cadres are motivated. They see themselves as part of a national story and this feeling is making a big difference on ground.
Can we say that only challenge BJP is receiving from is from regional parties?
Regional parties definitely pose a challenge but understand that Congress too will have to play a role. It is the largest national party in the Opposition. Congress will have to play the role of an axle. They are in middle of it too. But regional parties are playing an effective role of an Opposition. There is no problem of coming together but a larger understanding will need to be built for it to sustain itself.