Sudhindra Bhadoria, who is currently the spokesperson of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), has been in politics since his college days and was a close associate of late Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. He was imprisoned during the Emergency.
Bhadoria, who comes from a political family in Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, was actively involved in the JP movement. He went to school and college in Delhi and was a good table tennis player.
Bhadoria is one of the founders of Centre for Social Research, an institution working for women and girls’ empowerment in India. He founded it with his wife Ranjana Kumari and a few other social scientists from JNU. In an interview with SRI KRISHNA, he spoke on the current political scenario and how BSP is countering the “divisive politics” of the BJP. Excerpts:
Q: Your party ideology calls for social transformation and economic emancipation of society. How far have you succeeded?
A: The BSP under the leadership of Mayawati is committed to the ideals of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule, Savitribhai Phule and those icons who worked towards the emancipation of Dalits, OBCs, women, the marginalised sections and the poor, particularly among the minorities.
The party has been working for the past over three and-a-half decades and its founders Kanshi Ram and Mayawati have toiled to build it.
Of course, the political movement itself was started by Babasaheb and after being dormant for about three-and-a-half decades after his death, Kanshi Ram and Mayawati resurrected and organised it across India, more particularly in the North and to be more precise in Uttar Pradesh.
They went from village to village and urban townships spreading the ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule and Savitribhai.
In the caste-ridden Indian society, with lower stratums being most exploited and marginalised, Kanshi Ram and Mayawati wanted to free them from slavery, bondage and serfdom. When they came to power, they drew up a programme to build institutions and mechanisms to help liberate this section.
When Mayawati became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the first time, it created a self-confidence among these people through political mobilisation.
To use Kanshi Ram’s phrase the “master key to social emancipation is through political power.We have to get into power and get this master key”.
He drew up an agenda for education on the basis of the ideas of Savitrabhai Phule and welfare of the rural poor on ideas of Mahatma Phule.
The party is committed to the Constitution which it holds as a sacred document of our democracy and that is why we work towards spreading ideas and basic principles in it.
Our social transformation agenda was drawn up for the poor and OBCs were given pattas and houses in the rural areas with many radical programmes drawn up for socio-economic upliftment of this section.
We are foot soldiers of the Bahujan Samaj Party and spread the teachings of Baba Saheb Ambedkar. So our commitment to democracy and upholding the Constitution.
Q: With the countdown to the 2019 Lok Sabha election having begun, has your party drawn up any strategy?
A: Election is a very important engagement for all political parties in a democracy as also for us but our first and foremost focus is on social transformation.
Our ideology is based on the philosophy of Ambedkar. Our leader Mayawati is also committed to the party’s ideals.
In order to protect the Constitution and the secular fabric of the country, Mayawati is working towards formulating an electoral strategy of having an alternative leadership. We are confident of building a political and social alternative in the country under her leadership.
Q: Is the BSP thinking of having any electoral alliances ahead of the Lok Sabha polls?
A: When the time comes, Mayawati will take a decision. She will draw up a strategy which would be for the welfare of the weaker sections and within the parameters of the Constitution. We are the foot soldiers and follow whatever she works out.
Q: Of late there have been numerous scams like the recent one involving businessman Nirav Modi. How does the party intend to focus on it?
A: Mayawati has always said that BJP is a divisive party which tries to whip up communal sentiments of the people and secondly it is committed only to the empowerment of the haves, the rich corporates and all those people who are very well off. Since coming to power, the BJP has talked of black money and bringing it back and putting Rs 15 lakh into the account of each citizen.
They have also said ‘na khaoonga, na khaane doonga’. But what we have seen is that there was Lalit Modi who was close to a chief minister and he got his visa extended and escaped with all the wealth he made through cricket.
Similar is the case of Vijay Mallya and everyone knows he was elected to Parliament with the support of BJP. He lived a lavish life and he also walked away from the country. Now, very recently Nirav Modi has walked away with about Rs 12,000 crore.
All these people belong to the richest corporate families in the country and the flight of capital is taking place even as BJP talks of honesty. Instead of black money being brought back into the country, white money is going out of the country. It is all a sham and the BJP stands exposed.
Q: What are your views on Opposition unity which does not appear to be happening?
A: As far as our party is concerned, whatever strategy has to be drawn up, it would be done by Mayawati. If we want to have a stable opposition, we must not do what happened in Bihar.
Mayawati wants the Constitution to be protected, democracy to be protected as also the secular fabric, but it should be done with a crystal clear socio-economic programme. The ideological base should be common and there is need for a holistic approach. I think Mayawati will take a decision at the right time.