Transcript of Aap Ki Baat BBC Ke Saath with the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav on how his government would ensure justice to the public of UP.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: Mr Yadav, soon after winning the confidence vote, you had said on the floor of the house, that your government would not be a government of any one party and you would do justice to all. How will you ensure justice for all in the state?
Mulayam Singh : I would like to assure everybody that this government would not be a government of any particular party. With the cooperation of the public and all political parties, I would try to do justice to the 17 crore population of Uttar Pradesh. This government will prove that it does not belong to any particular section, religion or caste.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: And not the government of any one political party also?
Mulayam Singh : Remember this is not the government of Samajwadi Party (SP) alone. Yes, I am the president of this party, and ours is the largest party in the coalition, but it does not mean that this is the government of Samajwadi Party. It belongs to the 17 crore population of the state.
BBC listener from Surat (Gujarat): You have come to power after Mayawati’s government collapsed, during which people felt that opportunism, anarchy and lawlessness had increased. What would you do to set things right ?
Mulayam Singh : You are right, in fact these are the very concerns of our government. We would remove corruption, anarchy, militancy, etc., and I am telling you that this government would not speak through TV, radio or the newspapers. The work of the government would speak for itself.
BBC listener from Lucknow : You have mentioned about militancy, and the country is facing a threat from militants, there is no doubt about it. But there are some organisations within the country which try to foment communal trouble and thrive on it. No political party seems sincere in fighting communalism. Are you in favour of a legislation to fight communalism? What are you going to do about it ?
Mulayam Singh : Let me make it clear that any organisation whether religious or casteist, cannot be allowed to break the law. Any organisation which indulges in militancy or any other such activities would be dealt with in accordance with the law, irrespective of which religion it belongs to.
The alliance government that I am heading is an alliance of like minded parties, which are against such forces. We would work taking the public into confidence, and the government which is sincere in its work gets public support. We are confident that we would be able to deal with such forces with the support of the people, but if need be, there would also be a law, which would treat everyone equally.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: The previous BSP-BJP government in the state had moved the court to drop the charge of criminal conspiracy against top BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case. What would be the stand of your government?
Mulayam Singh : This entire matter is before the highest court of the country, the Supreme Court. We are waiting for that. Let us see what the court decides.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: But the Prosecution works under the control of the state government. What would the role of prosecution be?
Mulayam Singh : The role of prosecution would be such, which would make the people happy. I am saying so because today the challenge before us is not Ayodhya. The challenge for the state government is development of 17 crore people of the state. We are getting a tremendous public support, and if we are able to capitalise on this support and remove the problems facing the people of this state. Ayodhya problem should not remain at all .
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: But only yesterday, the BJP had said that it would fully support the agitation for construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya. Now you are back as the chief minister and this issue is back. How would you tackle it ?
Mulayam Singh : I am fully aware that the BJP and organisations affiliated with it would again raise the temple issue, and would try to arouse the religious sentiments of the people, but their magic would not work any more.
The public today wants food and clothing, the farmer wants his crop to be sold, youth need education and employment. The state needs trade and industries. This fight is not to be fought by the chief minister Mulayam Singh. It would now be a fight between the public and the communal forces, and I will be with the public.
BBC listener from Singapore: I am from Uttaranchal, and there are issues between UP and Uttaranchal to be sorted out ; they are : some villages of Nagina tehsil want to be merged with Kotdwar in Uttaranchal; distribution of properties between the two states & some employees sent to Uttaranchal want to be a part of UP state ? Are you going to do something about this ?
Mulayam Singh : I am aware of the problem of Nagina tehsil, infact we had initiated this, but the matter got stuck at the level of the Central govt. We would take it up again with the Centre, if all is well, this should be done. So far as the properties are concerned, I have a good equation with Uttaranchal CM N D Tewari, as both of us think alike, we will sort this out. So far as the employees’ problem is concerned, I would look into it.
BBC listener from Mumbai: In 1999, after the fall of the Vajpayee government, you did not support the alternative under the leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, due to her foreign origin. What is your stand on this issue now ?
Mulayam Singh : Please do not try to rake up a dead issue now. Today the issue is of the country and its unity. The question is of the 17 crore people of UP, if their problems are solved, everything is solved. We have to defend the country’s borders and defend it against the internal enemies also.
What you have asked is not an important question today. Your question is political, and political decisions depend on the developments that take place at a particular juncture. Therefore we would decide depending upon the political developments at the national level and at the level of U.P.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: The next Lok Sabha elections are only a year away, and your party was preparing for these polls, it is just that Mayawati government collapsed, and you got a chance, but what is your plan for the Lok Sabha polls, would you work for the defeat of BJP ?
Mulayam Singh : Everyone knows that the major issue facing us is communalism. We want to finish communalism at all levels. Our country is known for its culture and tolerance. Our country was known for spreading the message of humanity to the world, it is known for Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.
We want to make this country like this. Elections are not important for us, if the country is united, no foreign power can look at us. These are the issues which we would take to the public and we hope to get support on this .
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: But, in this age of coalition politics, you have two major fronts - first the NDA led government by the BJP, and the other formation is being led by the Congress broadly - where does the Samajwadi Party see itself in this ?
Mulayam Singh : We will not have an alliance with any party. We would only give and take support on issues - issue based support.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: Would the Samajwadi Party stay out of the coalition led by Congress also ?
Mulayam Singh : Samajwadi Party would not have any alliance and would not be a part of any front - we would only give and take support based on issues.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: There was a non-Congress front at the national level in 1989, and a non-Congress and non-BJP front in 1996. You have benefited both the times, and you even became the Defence Minister of the country in such a front. Are you now looking at the third front again ?
Mulayam Singh : See in the context of the question asked by you, we have seen that such pre-election fronts have been a bad experience. Depending upon the situation after the next general elections, if the need arises, we would see about the non-Congress non-BJP front.
We would see depending on the scene, if such a government could be formed. But that is a talk of distant
As of today, it is important for me to have the support of Congress. That is why I have said that we would give and take support based on issues .
BBC listener from Hyderabad: The Bihar governmentdid not allow Praveen Togadia to enter the state. If the need arises, would your governmenttake similar action ?
Mulayam Singh : Yes we had stopped; then the High Court ruled that he should not give any provocative speech, after that he has not spoken anything provocative. So we do not know where is Togadia, and who is Togadia. The people of UP do not know who is Togadia .
BBC listener from Oman: How long would the politicians of UP keep the mandir-masjid issue alive? Why not construct a hospital at the disputed site and name it Hindu-Muslim hospital ? When would Lucknow have an international airport ?
Mulayam Singh : We are not in favour of any institution in the name of any caste or religion. It would smack of communal bias. Where would Sikhs, Christians Jains, Buddhists go ? So why talk of only Hindus and Muslims.
So far as the question of international airports is concerned, the announcement has been made and we are trying to have this soon .
BBC listener from Ayodhya: During the tenure of Rajnath Singh, all teachers of the state were given salaries as per the recommendations of the Fifth pay Commission, but Sanskrit teachers were left out. Can these teachers deceived by the BJP, BSP and the Congress hope for any justice in your rule ?
Mulayam Singh : You should be happy that today a teacher is the Chief Minister of your state. A delegation of Sanskrit teachers should come and meet me, and be assured that there would be no injustice to any teacher.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: It is clear from the listeners’ questions that the expectation level is high from your government. But at the same time there have been allegations that whenever you are in power, you patronise criminal elements ? What do you say ?
Mulayam Singh : Well, I would say that such statement are made by people who are either cunning or ignorant. Let me tell you that the Election Commission had congratulated our party on not having given tickets to any criminal in the Vidhan Sabha polls. Same was done during the Lok Sabha polls.
If some criminal elements had infiltrated the SP, I have thrown them out.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: But such allegations come from your rivals. Today, Ms Mayawati has said in Jaipur that jungle raj has begun in UP. What is your reaction ?
Mulayam Singh : I do not even want to react on such comments. Such people are not even worthy of any reaction .
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: Ms Mayawati has also said that she might be sent to jail. Would you do justice with her ? You also said in the assembly that you are missing her, what does this mean ?
Mulayam Singh : So far as justice for Mayawati ji is concerned, the case is before the Supreme Court and I think that there can be no other institution with greater faith. So it is for the Court to do justice .
So far as the normal political protocol is concerned, we would not step back from it.
It is true I would have been happy had she been in the Vidhan Sabha. Now whenever I would be at her residence, I would definitely try to meet her.
BBC listener from Roorkee: You have spoken about development and justice for all. I think that both these cannot go together. Look at the basic issue, you have taken the support of as many as 37 MLAs from the BSP. They were elected on BSP tickets, haven’t they deceived the electorate. This is horse trading, what do you say ?
Mulayam Singh : Well see, when such a large number of MLAs leave the party, it is not defection, they have decided to form a separate party, so I would call it a process of merger. It is not defection.
It is the intention that matters, and it is the person heading the government who has to do justice, there has to be sincerity in the government and I am striving for it. Coming of MLAs and their support is not a major problem.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: But you have the support of 244 MLAs, your party strength is 142, means a hundred odd MLAs are those, who are outside your party, how would you keep them together ? How many ministers would you have ?
Mulayam Singh : No government runs on majority or the number of ministers. Governments run on public support. No matter how much is your budget or resources, or how much police force you have. If you do not have the support of the people the governmentcannot run.
Nagendar Sharma, BBC:But even if you have to make a normal size ministry, by UP standards, it would be mega size. Then how would you do justice to the people ?
Mulayam Singh : After coming to office, I have ordered that extra government expenditure must stop. Within six months you would come to know of our efforts on reducing expenditure.
BBC listener from Bangalore: You have become the CM of the state for the third time. Infact you are the 13th CM in 11 years. What would you do to stabilise this government and reduce the drain on the state’s economy ?
Mulayam Singh : So far as the frequent change of governments is concerned, it would strengthen the democracy. The socialists have always believed that the process of instability would only lead to a good government for the people. I believe that the process of instability has finally ended and the people would see a stable govt.
BBC listener from Bangalore: Would you support Sonia Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister after next elections ?
Mulayam Singh : Well there are no elections taking place at the moment. Let the next Lok Sabha elections take place, and see who gets how many seats. It would be decided after that as to who would be the Prime Minister of the country .
BBC listener from Dhanbad: You are talking of justice for the people, but your brother and Kalyan Singh’s son are already ministers. How can favouritism and justice go hand in hand ?
Mulayam Singh : You should not be prejudiced. You should not have a pre-judged opinion. Let this government work for at least six months and then speak about the government’s performance.
BBC listener from Mohua : For becoming the chief minister, you have joined hands with the same Kalyan Singh and Amarmani Tripathi, against whom you had taken to the streets in the past. Has your socialistic ideology been diluted ? Also the Muslims have high expectations from you. Are you doing anything for them ?
Mulayam Singh : I think you are not aware of the fact that Kalyan Singh is today as much against the communal forces as I am. He is fighting against communalism today.
So far as Amar Mani Tripathi is concerned, even if he has any shortcomings, with his coming to us, it is our duty to rectify him.
Muslims know that whenever I have been in government, I have worked for them. In fact nobody has worked for Muslims more than I have since Independence .
Nagendar Sharma, BBC: It seems that recently you have changed your attitude towards the BJP. In the assembly BJP leader Lalji Tandon has also spoken of constructive opposition. Are you changing your position towards BJP ?
Mulayam Singh : So far as the BJP is concerned, in the parliament, in front of the Prime Minister and the
Deputy Prime Minister, we have said that if the BJP gives up four issues - Ayodhya temple; common civil code;
Article 370 & changes its stance on Muslims, I am ready to come with the BJP.
Transcript courtesy, BBC Hindi Radio