Home >politics >policy >Younger generation does not even know what Godhra is: Sushil Modi

Patna: Sushil Kumar Modi, a former deputy chief minister of Bihar and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the decision of the Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), to end ties with the BJP over the elevation of Narendra Modi as the latter’s election campaign chief will not affect its prospects in the forthcoming national and state elections. Narendra Modi is the BJP’s undisputable prime ministerial candidate, Sushil Kumar Modi said in an interview. Edited excerpts:

Were you surprised that the alliance split?

Immediately after the assembly elections of 2010, he (Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar) was trying to muster his own majority. He had 115 seats... We were not surprised, but regarding timing, we were surprised. We were expecting that the BJP would take a decision on Narendra Modi in October–November, that at that time they may leave the NDA (National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP). So, the BJP was also trying to find out some way to see how the concerns being raised by the JD(U) can be accommodated, to find out a way. But, we were surprised because they had given time till December.

They had taken a decision that the BJP should take a decision by December end and then they gave a statement that it’s an internal matter of the BJP as to whoever becomes the chairperson of the campaign committee. So in that way, it was a surprise for us, but because we are working together with him for the last two years, we have been watching the happenings in the alliance. It was not that smooth as it was in the earlier tenure. So in that manner, we are not very much surprised.

Are Bihar politics set for a change? Do you think this split in the alliance will be a milestone in the political history of the state?

He (Kumar) does not have a majority and is running a minority government. Because, he has only 118 MLAs (members of the state legislative assembly) of his own and has support of our independent MLAs… It is very difficult to run this type of government because there are a lot of pulls and pressures, there are a lot of compromises and, they would always be concerned about how to manage your majority... We wanted that the alliance should continue because if anything happens to the alliance, then it is not a question of the BJP or the JD(U), Bihar will suffer. Bihar has crossed a very difficult phase in last the 20-25 years, and the BJP-JD(U) alliance made a lot of effort.

Do you feel that such a split in the government was not really the need of the hour in Bihar?

Narendra Modi was not an issue in Bihar. The BJP had not decided its prime ministerial candidate till then. So, you are raising the issue of Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi has been the chief minister of Gujarat thrice, he is the most popular leader of the country. You are raising the bogey of Godhra, which is a part of history now, and the younger generation does not even know what is Godhra, and they want development, they want jobs. A new era has dawned in this country and they are moving in the old direction of raising the same issue. Lalu Yadav has raised this issue many times, so you cannot get votes on the same issue again and again.

Who do you think is likely to lose or gain from the split?

I have never seen such kind of rage or popularity of such an individual. The same wave was seen for Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And it is not only in urban areas, but in rural areas as well, and it is across all castes and creeds.

Are you referring to Narendra Modi?

Yes, I am talking about Narendra Modi. People see in him an alternative to Manmohan Singh and an alternative to Rahul Gandhi. They feel he is the right man. He is intelligent, sharp and honest, and a fearless man.

So the BJP is likely to gain from this split?

There is sympathy in favour of the BJP. What is the fault in Narendra Modi… There is a general sympathy in favour of the BJP because the BJP has done a very good job in the government.

Given that the last two electoral terms have seen a non-Lalu Prasad government in Bihar, what is your assessment of the development in the state? Where do you think Bihar stands now in terms of growth?

The fight now will be between the BJP and the RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) is because the RJD still is a force in Bihar. Naturally, the JD(U) is there…BJP has 91 MLAs. So in the last 60 years, this is the biggest opposition in the Bihar assembly. Otherwise, 40-50 people would have been in the opposition. I am talking about the opposition party, so for the first time there are 91 MLAs in the opposition party. Ultimately, the fight will be between Lalu Yadav and the BJP.

In terms of development, where do you think Bihar stands right now?

Is the BJP in Bihar readying itself for the assembly polls due in 2015?

Naturally. First, the Lok Sabha election is there, and only if we send a strong message there that we would do better in assembly elections. But practically, we are preparing for the Lok Sabha election, we are going to villages in the state and districts and addressing the public meetings about how the mandate has been betrayed. We are asking the people to take the revenge in the Lok Sabha election because in a democracy, vote is the only means for the common man to take revenge for this betrayal. They should vote for Narendra Modi, they should vote for BJP.

Do you think all doors are closed for any future alliance between the BJP and the JD(U)?

In politics, no one is a permanent friend and no one is a permanent enemy. So what will happen in the future, I cannot see, but the BJP will try and get more and more seats in Lok Sabha.

Do you think the goods and services tax (GST) is doomed?

It is not a question of myself not being the chairman of the team. But naturally, elections are there and everything will stand still and they will have to find a new chairman and anyone new who comes now will take time to get used to it. Because it is an election year, so naturally GST will be affected and it will be difficult to be implemented even in 2014-15.

How important is GST for the country?

Naturally, it is very important. If you have to compete in the international markets, if we want that our products and goods can compete with China, Japan and other international markets, then we have to go for GST. More than 150 countries have opted for GST, and this is the biggest indirect taxation reform and no government can now obstruct GST. It has to come in India; it may not come in 2014-15, but it should come in 2015-16.

Talking about Bihar, what do you think has been the biggest achievement of the alliance to the state?

Law and order is the biggest achievement and development (electricity and roads)—these two are the biggest achievements. These two things we lacked in Bihar.

Do you think the Nitish Kumar factor would work again?

Already twice that factor has worked and the same factor cannot work again. The BJP would have been there with him, it might have worked, but now I do not see any future of this in the coming days.

Within the BJP, there seems to be an emergence of different ideologies. There are key BJP chief ministers who seem to be positioning themselves differently.

Whatever the differences, you will see that there are no differences among the BJP leaders. Narendra Modi is the natural choice, and the workers and the supporters have already taken their own decision. When the parliamentary board takes the decision, it will take its own time formally, but lakhs and lakhs of BJP workers and supporters have decided who will be their future prime ministerial candidate.

Personally, how do you see your role in the party now?

I am a sipahi (soldier), I am like a policeman. I am a volunteer of the BJP for the last 40-45 years. I am working with the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the Vidyarthi Parishad in the BJP. Whatever role the BJP decides for me, we don’t decide our roles on our own, it is the party which decides what role you have to play.

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