Earlier this week, the BJP expelled its veteran leader and sitting Shahpura MLA Kailash Meghwal for contesting the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly election as an Independent from the seat following denial of the party ticket. In September, the BJP had suspended him after he levelled allegations of corruption against Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Kailash Meghwal has a political career spanning more than half a century during which he has been an MLA and MP multiple times besides having been a minister in the state and at the Centre. Considered as a loyalist of senior party leader Vasundhara Raje, the 89-year-old leader had also served as the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker from 2013 to 2018 during Raje’s second tenure as the CM. In an interview with The Indian EuroJournal, Meghwal speaks on a range of burning issues including his move to contest as an Independent and his expulsion from the BJP. Excerpts:
The BJP has expelled you from the party with which you had been associated for several decades. What is your take?
The party has done injustice to me. BJP is no longer the party for people who are disciplined and committed. Now it has become a party of people who do hera pheri (wrongdoing) and chaploosi (sycophancy).
You had levelled corruption allegations against Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal a few months ago, following which the party had suspended you…
This is also a reason (for expelling me). I had told the party with evidence that he (Arjun Ram Meghwal) is corrupt and should be expelled. But he is still there holding his ministerial post. I believe that Narendra Modi’s drive against corruption is kachi (weak). Jo apna hai woh bhrastachari nahi (One’s own is not corrupt).
Do you think the action against you could also be attributed to your affiliation to Vasundhara Raje?
No comments. The party knows why it took action against me.
Earlier, you had levelled allegations against Assam Governor Gulab Chand Kataria. You had seemed to be upset with the state BJP leadership over the last five years, why?
Pichle paanch saal mein bahut hi gande log jo hai padadhikari banaye gaye hain (In the last five years unscrupulous persons have become state BJP functionaries).
Did you discuss this with Raje?
Vasundhara ji jaanti hain, sab jaanti hain (Vasundhara ji knows, she knows everything).
Did you speak to Raje after you were expelled by BJP?
No, I haven’t spoken with her on this.
What do you think are your chances of winning the election as an Independent from Shahpura?
I will definitely win and enter the state Assembly representing my constituency.
Which party do you think will win the Rajasthan polls?
If you win, will you be open to supporting the Congress or the BJP depending on the post-poll situation?
I will do whatever is in the interest of my Assembly constituency.
What is the response of your constituency people about your candidature?
The candidate who has been put up here by the BJP is an outsider. The party workers didn’t accept him and asked me to contest the elections. The public is very happy with me and is welcoming me wholeheartedly. The BJP candidate doesn’t have any personality. The public is welcoming me with tan man dhan (mind, body and wealth).
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It is said that the BJP has an age criterion for its leaders and does not field candidates in their advanced age. At 89, you are one of the oldest candidates. Do you think there should be an age limit for contesting elections?
This is a way to show partiality. In Kerala, O Rajagopal was fielded by the BJP. They use age as an excuse to deny ticket to the person they don’t want to field. When I contested in 2013, I was 80-year-old, in 2018 I was 85. I got the tickets back then and won.
This time, in its first list the BJP nominated several MPs, which resulted in some party backlash in their areas. Do you think the BJP miscalculated by fielding MPs in the Assembly polls?
There is a lack of dharatali soch (ground-based thinking) in Delhi. They thought MPs will be influential. But actually, the MLAs make the MPs win elections. This plan of Delhi became a failure in the first round as all the MPs were being opposed. Afterwards they didn’t field any more MPs.
Last time your winning margin was highest among all candidates in Rajasthan. Are you optimistic about your prospects in this election?
I will this time break my own record.
© The Indian EuroJournal Pvt Ltd
First published on: 18-11-2023 at 17:01 IST