Mumbai: Every section of society including farmers, common man, poor and the working-class is angry with the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government.
There will certainly be a change of government and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance will come to power, Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant said this in a special interaction with the editorial team of The Free Press Journal and its Marathi daily Navshakti. Sawant was welcomed by the Managing Editor of the two publications, GL Lakhotia.
Apparently, the opposition is missing from the ongoing poll campaign. Why is the Congress-NCP not being seen giving a tough fight to the BJP-Sena alliance?
There is a perception that a weak opposition is challenging a much stronger ruling alliance. After the Lok Sabha election, many leaders from the Congress-NCP were lured away by BJP and Sena to weaken the opposition.
The Election Commission of India, referee of this match, is with the ruling parties. We are fighting strongly at the ground level. We are not having resources to issue advertisements or put up hoardings. Therefore, one may think we are not fighting.
Most of the institutions have been taken over by them. Our helicopters were stopped from flying which was aimed at stopping us from campaigning.
The ruling dispensation has used everything — Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed but do not have the support of the public with them. The BJP manifesto for 2019 Assembly election is just a repeat of its 2014 vision document. Most of the promises made in the 2014 vision document have been left unfulfilled by the ruling party.
They promised zero farmer suicide in 2014, but the number of suicides has doubled in last 5 years. The common man is now committing suicide in Mantralaya, by writing letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The situation on economic front is grave.
PM Modi said that Congress and NCP will get 10 seats each. This means you are fighting the battle which you may most probably lose?
This is the tactics of Modi. During the Gujarat election too, he had written off the Congress party. But you know what happened. The voters of the state want a change of government.
The anti-incumbency against the government can be seen in rural parts of the state. There is an undeclared emergency. By keeping the mask of democracy, autocrats are ruling in some countries. The government is resorting to censorship and trying to suppress the voice of the opposition parties.
Congress party's speech meant to be aired on Doordarshan, contained the sentence "Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has done nothing instead of lying" was censored and deleted from the speech. After our strong protest, DD allowed us to speak but asked us not to mention the name of Devendra Fadnavis.
The current ruling parties do not respect the opposition. The young activists were sent to judicial custody for 14 days because they opposed the hacking of trees. The farmer activist who threw Kadaknath hens were externed.
When AR Antulay was Chief minister of the state, leader of opposition Datta Patil danced on his car in protest. Even then no action was taken against him. Media is now being forced to be amicable and pliable and media houses are being offered advertisement packages worth crores of rupees.
Do you think the ruling parties are manipulating EVM to win the election?
The public have serious doubts about EVM. It was the duty of Election Commission to act neutrally and remove the doubts about EVM. But the EC has become a partner of the ruling parties.
The BJP is behaving like a serial offender and violating the model code of conduct. But EC has chosen to be a mute spectator. Like Lok Sabha election, their election campaign is being carried out through TV serials. We are complaining to the EC but is it not the responsibility of EC to take suo moto cognisance?
While Digvijay Singh is opposed to giving Bharat Ratna to V.D. Sawarkar, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said just the otherwise. What exactly is the stand of Congress on Savarkar?
The ideology of Congress is that we do not hate any person. We oppose only ideology and not the person. Till 1911, Savarkar was fighting against British and he spent many years in the jail, too.
We have respect for him. But there is a difference between respecting a person and treating him as an ideal. We respect Savarkar but he is not our ideal.
What is the relation between Maharashtra election and giving Bharat Ratna? Can this be an issue in the state election? RSS has already distanced itself from Sawarkar. Savarkar had advocated reforms in the Hidnu religion but RSS does not agree with these thoughts as they are Manuwadi.