Bhushan made no reference to referendum on security forces: Yogendra Yadav

AAP leader Prashant Bhushan had made no reference to referendum on security forces in Naxal-hit areas, the party`s leader Yogendra Yadav said.

PTI| Updated: Jan 13, 2014, 19:57 PM IST

Chandigarh: AAP leader Prashant Bhushan had made no reference to referendum on security forces in Naxal-hit areas, the party`s leader Yogendra Yadav said.

"He (Bhushan) made no reference to referendum on security forces," Aam Aadmi Party leader said when asked about BJP`s criticism of Bhushan for reportedly saying that there should be a referendum for deployment of security forces against Maoists in the affected areas.

Calling it a "completely mistaken report," Yadav said Bhushan had merely replied to a question on situation in Chhattisgarh and had made no mention of referendum.

"This is a completely mistaken report. Prashant was asked by a reporter about the situation in Chhattisgarh, to which he said that because land of tribals was being taken without their consent, this is what is creating the extremist situation in those areas," he said.

Asking media to report "what we say and not what they wish us to say," he said, "I am astonished how these things get completely distorted.

"He (Bhushan) made no reference to referendum on security forces, this was neither the question nor the answer," Yadav said.

After stoking controversy with his remarks on Kashmir, Bhushan had yesterday drawn flak from BJP for his comments on Naxal-hit areas.

Bhushan, whose demand for a referendum on deployment of security forces in Kashmir had raised hackles with his party AAP also distancing itself from it, had on Saturday reportedly called for a vote on the issue of deploying central paramilitary forces in Naxal-infested areas.

When asked about BJP`s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi`s comments on AAP, Yadav said he was happy that the Gujarat Chief Minister was getting the time to pay attention to their outfit.

"But we have not been able to get time (to react to what he said) as our attention is on one thing, which is how to end corruption in this country and empower common people. We are focused on this," he said.

Asked under whose leadership the party will contest assembly polls in Haryana, Yadav said the elections were still far away."Our first target is to fight Lok Sabha polls."

AAP has decided to contest from all 10 Parliamentary seats in Haryana and all 90 assembly constituencies, polls for which are due in September-October this year.
He said AAP would like to move away from politics where names of who will be fielded for which post was important.

To a question, Yadav, who was flanked by senior AAP leader from Haryana Rajiv Godara and former Punjab DGP Shashi Kant, said, AAP has "made a small beginning" by winning 28 seats in Delhi and forming government there.

"If 28 MLAs in Delhi assembly can have such impact on the country`s politics, what will happen if 280 (AAP MPs) sit in Parliament? But we are far away from that," he said.

"No doubt, it is my dream that Arvind Kejriwal becomes the nation`s Prime Minister," he said.

Yadav said there has been a surge in the number of people wanting to join AAP after the Delhi Assembly polls as it was providing an alternative to the people who had lost faith in the present political system.

"People were fed up with the existing system and were looking for an alternative. In that, AAP has acted as a vehicle and more and more people are connecting with us. We are getting good response from even states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Gujarat," he said.

To a question on Lokayuktas or Lokpals, he said throughout the country these were restricted just to paper.

"It`s a drama, they have no powers and are toothless. It will be our first priority to have an independent powerful establishment that has no interference from politicians and has its own investigating power."

Asked how his party will tackle money and muscle power in the polls, he said, "before peoples` power, these do not stand. Money power was no less in Delhi. The amount of money spent by AAP in entire Delhi polls equaled the amount spent by Congress and BJP candidates in one constituency," he claimed.

He ruled out any alliance with former Punjab Minister Manpreet Badal led PPP, saying, "we are not open to alliance building."

On the failure of the public durbar in Delhi recently, Yadav admitted that "maybe our mechanism to deal with the situation was lacking.... I accept there was weakness."
When asked about the party`s foreign policy, Yadav said, "We have not yet decided to go public about our foreign policy. It is not that we have not thought about it. In February last year, we had appointed 31 committees on foreign policy, agriculture, among others.

"We have a general sense of where we stand. We had thought after the Delhi elections that we will release this draft, then we realised that every single sentence we speak is liable to be interpreted, overinterpreted, it can make headlines, so we thought we should not release this draft as it will be treated as a final statement," he said.

Yadav said within next one month or so, AAP will come out with a manifesto, which will clarify its stand on various issues.

On AAP`s economic policy, he said, "We have not yet clearly, coherently formulated our economic policy. I can say just one thing, which is that the party wants to move away from the Left-Right dichotomy, which has characterised much of our economic thinking.

"We have two orthodoxies, orthodoxies which bordered on theologies about what should be done in economic policy. There is no doubt that when it comes to the objective of our economic policies, it has to be the last person first, on that we have no doubt and there is no controversy.

"The real dispute is what is the best economic method to achieve welfare and wellbeing of the last person, on that we have two orthodoxies, public sector orthodoxy and market orthodoxy. We want to move away from these orthodoxies and search for specific solutions for specific problems.

"It is true that our political experience is less, but it is not that we are only dependent on bureaucrats, but from people across all fields," he said.

Yadav said AAP is currently running a nationwide membership drive from January 10 to January 26, under which it intends to enroll lakhs of members.

When asked to comment about a rickshaw puller being hit by a lathi on the head by a policeman in Gurgaon yesterday when he mistakenly entered a lane that was cordoned off for Chief Minister`s cavalcade, Yadav said, "I am not surprised with what has happened. This is precisely what makes people`s blood boil...Dismantling this VIP culture is what AAP is about to begin."

Yadav said during the past 15-18 years, Haryana`s
politics was dominated by caste factors, though that has not always been the case.

"When big issue arises, people of Haryana have kept the caste factor on one side and voted accordingly. The thing is not that people want to vote on caste basis, but the problem is that parties do not provide them alternative other than caste.

"In democracy, people can choose the items from the menu, but cannot choose the menu itself. Now, when that change is happening, people of Haryana, who have not been given the opportunity by the parties during the past 15-18 years to vote on basis other than caste, have an alternative," he said.
On setting up of nuclear power plant in Haryana with resistance to the project from some quarters, Yadav said some important questions that needed to be addressed were the consent of locals and long term costs.

On Khap Panchayats or caste councils, he said, "If a number of social disputes can be resolved without going to courts, then it is to be welcomed. However, if any such dispute resolution leads to coercion, violation of law of land, then it is completely unacceptable."