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INTERVIEW: Amarsingh Chaudhry
‘BJP will be eradicated in Gujarat if it goes for polls’

AmarsinghAmarsingh Chaudhry is a former chief minister of Gujarat and presently the state president of the Congress. He has been in the forefront challenging the BJP in the state and has been organizing agitations in the state particularly in the capital, Ahmadabad, against the BJP’s direct involvement in the ongoing riots. Syed Ubaidur Rahman of the MG talked to him in Ahmadabad. Excerpts :
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Why the riots are still continuing in the state?
The riots have been perpetrated by the BJP and its sister organizations like the VHP and the Bajrang Dal in the state. These organizations are solely responsible for planning riots in different areas of the state. These are also responsible for the large-scale killings of Muslims and destruction of their businesses and properties in all the affected cities including the state capital Ahmadabad. Riots will never stop till this dispensation remains in power.

Do you mean the government itself is organizing riots?
Everybody knows now who is organizing these riots. It is not hidden. It is the government that is behind these riots. It is also helping its sister organizations as much as it can in organizing riots.

The government has alleged that the ISI is behind the riots?
This all is farce. Neither ISI nor any other foreign agency is involved in these riots. It was a long-term VHP and Sangh agenda and it is implementing its agenda. It wanted to destroy Muslims and their businesses in the state and strengthen its base on anti-Muslim plank. But it wouldn’t be able to get any political benefit whatsoever as people are realizing that it has been destroying not only the Muslims businesses but also the state economy.

What the Congress has been doing?
We are providing assistance to different relief camps in Ahmadabad and other areas of the state. We are also trying to distribute relief materials in affected areas. We are organizing agitations and sit-ins. These efforts were started even when the riots were on its peak. 

There is a perception that Congress has not been able to project itself as a force following the riots? It has not been able to come on the road against Modi government.
We have been doing what we could do during the riots. We are going to the people and trying to project Modi’s plans before the common man. But how do you suppose that we can come on the streets against the government? It is the government that is organizing riots. Several of its legislators and MLAs have directly led the rioting mobs. There is no scope for our organizing large agitations as then the government will easily accuse us of perpetrating the riots. We are doing agitations. We are organizing sit-ins and we are also holding peace meets in every area of Gujarat. It is being done on state level as well as local level.

There are reports that government plans to dissolve the assembly and wants to hold polls shortly. The BJP believes that it will sweep polls. What will be the Congress’ prospects in these polls?
If the BJP goes for snap polls it will be eradicated from Gujarat. The BJP will lose miserably in the polls as it has failed the people of the state. People are highly apprehensive of BJP’s policies of communal hatred. Hatred rarely wins votes. 
The most important thing seen during these riots and that will play an important role in BJP’s defeat is that in most of the places it were upper caste people who came on the street, looted shops and were involved in macabre killings of the innocent people. Our people who vote for us are not much involved in the riots though the BJP tried to provoke even lower caste people and tribals in the riotings but it was not much successful.
The other factor that will defeat the BJP in any snap poll is the fear of the business community that if this dispensation remains in power any longer it will destroy the state’s economy. The business community has suffered heavily during these riots. It is not only the Muslim business that has suffered, the whole state economy is badly suffering. There are no orders, no demands. And money has stopped coming to the state. So the business community knows that if this dispensation remains in power any longer, they will be destroyed.
And then there are other factors that will go against the BJP, like the water crisis. You see it will intensify in the days to come.

But there are surveys that show that the BJP will win the snap polls?
We have seen how the surveys are conducted. All pre-poll surveys had predicted landslide victory for BJP in Uttaranchal and good showing in UP, but you know what happened in both the states. So don’t talk of these surveys.
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