Congress star campaigner and Union Minister of State for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia talks about the party strategy and much more in a candid chat with Dainik Jagran.

Q. Madhya Pradesh Assembly election was a huge setback for your party. Now you are once again in poll fray from Madhya Pradesh. How far you find this general election a challenge?

Ans. First of all I want to say that Lok Sabha and assembly elections are a different ball game altogether. As far as Guna-Shivpuri Lok Sabha seat is concerned, it is already a lost ground for the BJP. We have five out of the eight MLAs here. Moreover, we have lost the two other assembly constituencies by a very thin margin. While we have defeated BJP candidates by a huge margin, our nominees lost to the saffron party contestants by a very slim margin. Yes, the assembly election results were not satisfactory but we must not forget the 2008 assembly poll and 2009 general election results where Congress won 71 and 12 seats respectively in the state. We are confident of desirable results in the Lok Sabha elections.

Q. The critics say that despite being a star Congress campaigner in the state, you are devoting most of time in your parliamentary constituency. Do you find it more challenging as far as ground realities are concerned?

Ans. This is not the fact. I visited Gwalior, Bhind and Datia Lok Sabha constituencies today. After devoting 80 percent of my time in campaigning in these constituencies, I came back to Guna. If they still think so, what can I say.

Q. Do you think the Congress is lagging behind other political parties as far as campaigning is concerned? Don’t you think that the party has failed to derive benefits out of many crucial issues due to delay in campaign?  

Ans. No, I don’t agree to it. The political party needs to hit the campaign trail on the right time. Every party has their own strategy for poll campaigning. We are implementing our strategies and agendas properly. The poll results will be in our favour. In 2009 too, the people were predicting the formation of anti-Congress government at the Centre but we won 206 seats. I will not comment on others.

Q. Then why Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to admit that the government failed to publicize its good work.

Ans. You can say that the UPA government has lagged behind in marketing its work to some extent. The reason behind it is the Congress believes only in doing work rather than boasting itself. But this is not the case with the BJP.

Q. You have decided to wear a black arm band during your entire election campaign to protest against non-disbursement of compensation to hailstorm hit farmers in the state. Also you are not accepting garlands during your public meetings to protest against ruling BJP government. Is Congress seeing political benefits out of this?

Ans. It is very painful to see the sufferings of these farmers. The BJP government has announced Rs 2000 crore compensation for farmers who haven’t received any penny of money. Interestingly, the Central Government has sanctioned an amount of Rs 500 crore. Earlier, the BJP had questioned if the Central fund was approved. When we showed the proof of transferring an amount of Rs 411 crore to the Madhya Pradesh exchequer, the state government made a U-turn saying that it would review the issue. If I can visit the fields, why couldn’t government officials reach there? I am protesting the injustice to the farmers.

Q. There is a big hullabaloo within the Congress over Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s political role. What is your take on this?

Ans. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on this. Priyanka ji herself has decided to campaign for Sonia ji and Rahul ji in Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively. This is her personal decision. Presently, she will confine herself only to Rae Bareli and Amethi.

JPN/Bureau

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