‘Sentiments positive for MVA’

Priyanka Chaturvedi is a member of the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. She is the deputy leader and spokesperson of Shiv Sena (UBT).

‘Sentiments positive for MVA’

MP Priyanka Chaturvedi (photo:ANI)

Priyanka Chaturvedi is a member of the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. She is the deputy leader and spokesperson of Shiv Sena (UBT). She is also a columnist and was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra in 2020 on the Shiv Sena (undivided) ticket. Before joining the Shiv Sena, Chaturvedi was the Congress national spokesperson, member of the Indian National Congress and convenor of the party’s media cell.

She has also participated in ISB’s 10,000 Women programme, a scholarship programme by Goldman Sachs for women entrepreneurs. Chaturvedi contributes opinion columns in various newspapers and online websites. In an interaction with The Statesman, the Shiv Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha MP talks about her entry into politics, opposition INDIA bloc and prospects of Shiv Sena (UBT) in the Lok Sabha election. Excerpts:

Q. How did you join politics?


A: I never thought of being in the political space but circumstances led me there. There were two things. I come from Mumbai. My family continues to be in Mumbai. I was 21- years-old when I got married. I had two lovely children. I was working and I quit my job after my son was born. However, what changed the course for me were the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. I thought of reaching out to those families for rehabilitation which had lost their loved ones in the attacks. I used to run a blog and all women bloggers got together and helped those few families who were not economically empowered for one year. Another thing was that the Congress party came up with the Youth Congress idea. At the same time, we saw social media opening up and it was the biggest platform for me to communicate with the leadership. I became part of the youth Congress. I did learn a lot in the initial years. I always reached on time during political rallies of the Congress.

Q. You were one of the young leaders of the Congress with a bright future in the party. But you left a national party and joined a regional outfit like Shiv Sena (UBT). Why?

A: I was unhappy at the reinstatement of some Congress workers who had “misbehaved” with me. In the middle of the 2019 general election, those who were suspended from the Congress party were reinstated without letting me know and that disturbed me. As I was fighting for the cause of women, I could not remain silent so I took a call and then I resigned. After I resigned from the Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray asked me to work with their party (then it was undivided) in Maharashtra. I had tremendous respect for Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. As a girl growing up in a big city like Mumbai, there was a good law and order situation in the city.

Q. The Shiv Sena has split and the Uddhav Thackeray group faces a formidable challenge from the Eknath Shinde group. Your comment?

A: The Shiv Sena’s split came into limelight as it was sponsored by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It was sponsored by the BJP to reach their end goal which was to come to power in Maharashtra through whichever means possible. Every time the word ‘collapse’ is used for the Shiv Sena, it regroups itself with more motivated intent and works harder to prove such splits, the ones who went away, wrong. Let me tell you about Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, it was Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray who gave Shinde power in the organisation. Shinde got opportunities when Uddhav ji took charge of the party. I don’t think Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray went wrong. The Uddhav Thackeray government handled the coronavirus situation well in Maharashtra. Uddhav ji’s principle is to see no unhappy face in Maharashtra and in the country.

Q. Maharashtra, with its 48 Lok Sabha seats, is the secondlargest contributor to the Lower House of Parliament after Uttar Pradesh. Known for its political diversity and significant electoral influence, Maharashtra plays a crucial role in shaping national politics. How many seats is your party expecting to win out of the 21 it is contesting under the Maha Vikas Agadi (MVA) seatsharing deal?

A: The ground sentiment in Maharashtra for MVA is very positive and negative for the BJP. In Maharashtra, our party is very confident of a good show in the Lok Sabha election because when our party split, Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray went to the entire state. There was a huge amount of feeling that Uddhav ji did well for the state during the pandemic and was backstabbed. W h e n h i s ( Ud d h a v ) ow n p a r t y split, he rebuilt his party.

Q. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third term based on the performance of his government during its two terms. Don’t you think the BJP has a clear edge over the opposition’s INDIA bloc?

A: On the performance of the opposition INDIA bloc in the Lok Sabha polls, I will say that we will do exceedly well. Those who believe Mr Modi will cross above 400 seats in Lok Sabha will get the shock of their life. I won’t be surprised that the Opposition INDIA alliance forms the government. It is unfortunate that in the NDA which is an alliance of 38 parties, none of those 38 parties can aspire, hope or believe that their party leader can also become a prime minister one day.

Q. Do you endorse the view that the Modi government has been misusing investigating agencies against its opponents?

A: 100 per cent…it uses investigative agencies against its opponents for political purposes.