The induction of Babu Singh Khsuwaha in the Bharatiya Janata Party raised many eyebrows and dented the party’s stand on the issue of corruption. BJP’s vice president, Vinay Katiyar spoke to Swati Chaturvedi of Zeenews.com on the recent controversy and much more.
Swati: First of all, I would like to congratulate you for coming to our show unlike other BJP leaders who are scurrying for cover.
Swati: Is corruption no longer an issue for the BJP? You go to the President of India to voice your opinion on Lokpal, but take Babu Singh Kushwaha and Sakshi Maharaj in the party?
Katiyar: BJP does not associate itself with anyone who has a bad track record. When Babu Singh Kushwaha was inducted into the party he had no case filed against him.
Swati: Kushwaha was known as the right hand man of UP Chief Minister Mayawati. There are several corruption cases against him. BJP’s general secretary Kirit Somaiya has given the CBI files against Kushwaha and yet you welcomed him in the party with a bouquet of flowers?
Katiyar: I just gave him a bouquet. I would want the CBI to investigate matters with purity. But what is the CBI doing? CBI is targeting innocent people. They don’t have the courage to target the mukhiya, the chief sitting in New Delhi. The Congress and the BSP union is becoming stronger by the day. Has Mayawati been questioned by the centre? If the charges against Kushwaha are confirmed, BJP will wash its hands of him.
Swati: But why did you have to take a corrupt leader in your party in the first place?
Katiyar: The day we inducted him into the party, that day itself CBI raided him. The question is what was the CBI doing all this while? Why did it wait for so long? It is very clear that the Congress is running CBI. CBI very conveniently missed people like Mayawati, Chidambaram and Sheila Dikshit.
Swati: Leaders like Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav who is the convener of NDA, have stated that the BJP has done a wrong thing by including Kushwaha in the party. And you are justifying the move?
Katiyar: Not justifying. If he is accused - if a chargesheet is filed then we will take necessary action.
Swati: The word is that leaders like Arun Jaitly, LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and even you were not keen on Kushwaha’s entry into the party. But party chief Nitin Gadkari insisted on getting him in the party. Is that true?
Katiyar: I don’t know of any such thing. My conscious is right. If we have to win the war against corruption, we also need to do something. Agar Lanka par vijay prapt ki hai, to waha se unko bhi toh toda hai. If Kushwaha has committed a crime, if he is corrupt, then he should admit it in front the country not just the CBI. If he has information about others, he should reveal it. And we will support him.
I want Kushwaha to name those who are corrupt and what scams have taken place. I got him in the party for only this reason, so that he can tell everyone about it and also tell them the injustice that happened to the simple village man (Kushwaha).
Swati: Your party supported Anna Hazare and for the first time UPA was sacred of the power of the Opposition. With the inclusion of people like Babu Singh Kushwaha in the party, haven’t you marred your own image? Was he that big a catch?
Vinay: Now many things will get exposed. But isn’t it interesting that the moment Kushwaha is inducted into the party, CBI calls the press and informs them about the raids. They are not investigating; they are just victimizing certain people. They should bring all the accused under the purview, why leave out certain people?
Swati: If you are talking of corruption and then taking Kushwaha and Sakshi Maharaj into the party, people are bound to feel that corruption is no longer an issue for the BJP.
Vinay: Corruption will always remain a major issue for the party and we will not compromise on it.
Swati: But you are contradicting yourself now. On one hand Kirit Somaiya complains to the CBI and on the other hand Kushwaha is taken in the party. It is pretty shocking.
Vinay: I want the CBI to investigate what Kirit has given them. Let Babu Singh Kushwaha be the medium. Let him help the CBI to unravel truth as a witness.
Swati: Haven’t you lost your standing in the UP election because of this move?
Vinay: The standing is still there. The election results will tell all.
Swati: The entire nation is united on the issue of corruption. Leaders like Mayawati have ousted many of her ministers to secure her vote bank. At the time of elections, BJP’s latest move is suicidal.
Vinay: I understand your point. All this while Mayawati has extracted cream through these ministers and now we have taken them to expose the truth about her. They are not contesting elections or being given a post by the BJP. It is poll kholo abhiyaan and it will affect Maya’s seat and Congress’s satta at the centre.
Swati: You have no presence in Uttar Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi does not even mention you, Mayawati doesn’t think of you as a threat and Akhilesh Yadav wants to ally with someone else. You are number four in UP right now.
Vinay: No we are not. It is a circle. We were at the bottom of the circle and now we are slowly moving towards the top. And Maya is moving towards the bottom. Congress is not there is the circle at all.
Adaptation: Shomini Sen