In just three months, the Lok Sabha elections 2019 will be going to take place. As the dates for the general polls are drawing near, political activities in the Hindi heartland state of Uttar Pradesh have increased many folds. The state is of immense importance as it sends the largest number of MPs (80) in the Lok Sabha. The Samajwadi Party (SP) is one of the dominant players in the state. To know more about what the party is planning journalist Anurag Sason has an in-depth conversation with veteran SP leader and a member of Rajya Sabha Kunwar Rewati Raman Singh.
Here are the important excerpts from the exclusive interview. (Scroll down to watch the complete interview)
Q1) Is the Samajwadi Party ready for an alliance with the Congress party for the Lok Sabha elections 2019?
Rewati Raman Singh: As per the format right now, two seats are decided for the Congress party (Amethi and Raebareli). The SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will fight on 37 seats each. Rest of the seats are left for other smaller parties.
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Q2) Is the Congress party satisfied with this format?
Rewati Raman Singh: Discussion with the Congress party is pending. Whether they are satisfied or not that is up to them to tell.
Q3) In 2014, when the BJP came to power it promised that the Centre will clean the holy river Ganga. In the last four years are you satisfied with the work done for the cleaning of the river?
Rewati Raman Singh: See I have raised this question in Rajya Sabha also. There are two things-Ganga should be Nirmal and Aviral. The present government has not paid any attention to it. The government has trapped the river behind the dams.
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Q4) You have proposed that dams should be broken. Don’t you think that it will hamper the development works like the generation of electricity?
Rewati Raman Singh: Yes, dams should be broken. There is a proposal for the construction of 450 new dams. Presently, construction work is going on for seven dams. All this must be stopped so that the Nirmal flow of Ganga is maintained.
It will not hamper the development works like the generation of electricity as India presently is an energy surplus country and there are many other methods of generating electricity like wind energy and solar energy.
Q5) Is the Samajwadi Party satisfied with the development related works being done for Kumbh Mela 2019?
Rewati Raman Singh: Most of these works were sanctioned during the time of Akhilesh Yadav government like the construction of three flyovers. Nothing new is being done.
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Q6) Somewhere you also said that the name of Ardh Kumbh is changed to Kumbh Mela in order to gain political mileage. Your comments on this.
Rewati Raman Singh: Ardh Kumbh and Maha Kumbh have a direct relationship with constellations. You cannot change the name at will. The name is changed for political motives. The government will try to raise sentiments of a particular group.
Q7) What will be the issues on which the Samajwadi party will fight Lok Sabha elections 2019?
Rewati Raman Singh: We will point out that whatever the promises Modi government had done at the time of 2014 national polls, none of them are fulfilled. The government worked for some industrialists. The Centre has waived-off Rs 3.5 lakh crore loan of some industrialists but when it comes to waiving off the loans of poor farmers then the government says that it will destabilise the entire economy. How?
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Q8) As per some reports Shivpal Yadav may support the Congress party in the upcoming general polls. Your comments on this.
Rewati Raman Singh: Well, on this matter I will not be able to comment anything. I do not have a word with him so I’m not in a position to say anything on this matter right now.
Q9) You have worked with the Samajwadi Party since its inception. You have worked with Mulayam Singh and now you are working with Akhilesh Yadav. What is the difference in the work style of both these leaders?
Rewati Raman Singh: Mulayam Singh was running the party in his own old ways. Akhilesh has introduced new technologies in the party.
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Q10) Yogi Adityanath government is coming with a heavy hand on criminals in the state. Do you see an improvement in law and order situation?
Rewati Raman Singh: No, not at all. From the last two years, there is no report of crime bureau about law and order. There is no improvement.
Q11) Do you think the country will witness the same Modi wave in 2019 as it witnessed in 2014?
Rewati Raman Singh: There is no Modi wave. On the other hand, there is an anti-Modi wave in this general poll. Grand alliance will secure more than 70 per cent of the votes.
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WATCH COMPLETE INTERVIEW:
About the author: Author is Deputy Editor in India TV and tweets at @AnuragSason
The interview is taken in the personal capacity and is exclusively for this website.