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BBC documentary on Gujarat riots an international conspiracy: Dr Chandra

  • Despite a heavy snowfall on the last day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the type of response Rahul Gandhi received in Srinagar, do you think Congress will be able to revive itself in Jammu and Kashmir considering that elections will also happen in State?
    Dr Jagdeesh Chandra: See his popularity at that moment had reached a new high. The journalists that went from Delhi returned astonished and claimed that if elections were to happen on the day in the State, Rahul Gandhi will witness a landslie victory. But elections are different and coming together of ten thousand people, temporarily, is something entirely different. Moreover, there is another variable in this equation i.e. Rahul’s behaviour in the coming days whther he stays a politician or gets back to old self. And when elections happen, those who stood with him and shared stage like Mehbooba Mufti or Omar Abdullah would go their separate ways. This may happen at the time of election but yes there has been a little sympathy for Rahul in the valley.
  • When Rahul unfurled Tricolour at Lal Chowk, the party workers propagated that after Pt Nehru, it is Rahul who has unfurled the national flag at Lal Chowk. How true is that? Secondly, how different is Lal Chowk now from the past?
    Saying that only Pandit Nehru unfurled Tricolor at Lal Chowk is rubbish and factually not correct. Narendra Modi himself went to unfurl the Tricolour at Lal Chowk nearly three decades back and threw a challenge to anyone who can dare stop him. And Narendra Modi’s daring needs to be praised that he did not fear the forces then and went to Lal Chowk and unfurled the Tricolor. So Congress claiming that they did so is wrong. In fact, in the early stages, Congress leaders were of the view in Jammu that they shouldnt unfurl tricolor because this is RSS-BJP’s agenda, however later everyone including Rahul went there and did unfurl the flag. As of today, after abrogation og Article 370, Lal Chowk has been changed completely. Earlier Lal Chowk was a spot of terror and fear, people never used to think about going there. Those who live in Kashmir they too didnt used to go there claiming that terrorists and security forces clash at the spot since it was a centre-point of these clashes. But today the situation is different. The Congress leaders and workers who went to Srinagar for Rahul’s service were seen taking selfies at Lal Chowk. In fact when I visit Srinagar, I become astonished at how normalcy has returned at Lal Chowk. Every person can come and go and at times I wonder if I am at Lal Chowk. When I go to Kashmir, one of the way to the airport goes through Lal Chowk and I ask my driver to take me through there since there is some love for that spot. The local life there in juice shops and sweet shops has taken a new turn, so Lal Chowk has changed completely.
  • During the Bharat Jodo Yatra, an issue of Congress workers removing Savarkar’s photo in Kochi came forward. What was that issue about?
    I had also heard that.It was unfortunate, indecent and should not have happened. This happened on September 7 when Rahul Gandhi reached Kochi from Kanyakumari and across the city, posters of freedom fighters had been put up. Among these was Savarkar’s photo, which was removed by Congress workers and in its place Mahatma Gandhi’s photo was put up. The video of this went viral. This was unfortunate, it shouldnt have happened. One should be decent in politics. This is not the right way.
  • These days the BBC documentary on Gujarat riots has made headlines. However the documentary does not mention anything on riots that occurred under British Raj or under Congress rule. So, is this documentary a one way exercise?
    Of course it is a one way exercise. If you make a documentary on riots then it will be good if you make it in totality, since it shows justice to the issue. Generally what happens is that when a documentary is made, those making the said piece focus on a small aspect or one issue. However, when this documentary was released and people gave their reactions to it, they realised that under Congress rule so many riots happened but you have not showed that. You have made Kashmir files, but you are not making 1984 Sikh files. As far as riots are concerned, there was a riot in Bihar, decades back, in which about 1500 people killed. Then there was Mumbai riots after bomb blasts in which 800 people were killed. One riot happened in Odisha where 1900 people were killed when Indira Gandhi government was in Delhi. After that 1984 anti-Sikh riots also happened, in which government itself accepts that three thousand Sikhs were killed. And if you compare these figures with Gujarat, then 1100 people were killed there including 300 Hindus and remaining being Muslims. So if you see in terms of quantum, in Delhi’s anti-Sikh riots, the government has accepted three thousand deaths in Delhi, eight hundred in other places and it is said, in public sphere, that four thousand people were killed. So in comparison to Gujarat, Delhi’s anti-Sikh riots were almost five times more heinous. It is alleged that hundred people were charred alive in Gujarat, but here in Delhi one thousand people were burnt on roads, buses, trains, Connaught Place and other areas. Just imagine how gruesome a view it would have been. Riots should not happen anywhere, but if you project riots, it would have been better that the BBC producers compared it to the Delhi’s anti-Sikh riots.
  • Before BBC released that documentary, Rahul Gandhi had made a comment that the entire nation has been doused in petrol and all it needs is a spark to light the fire. If this is true and how do you see this irresponsible remark?
    If this is true, then the entire effort undertaken for Rahul Gandhi’s yatra is for nought. Finished. How irresponsible comment it is in London that all it needs is a spark as the nation has been doused in petrol. If the BJP runs this comment of Rahul during election, then it will be difficult for Congress to get votes. Providing them security will become difficult. You can target and attack BJP or RSS, but what are you doing, you are inciting the people. How serious a matter this is. If you want to say on such lines, you can do it before your confidantes, but you are saying it in a place from where papers, web and the entire media has picked up. If this is true, then it is most unfortunate and will kill the entire impact of this yatra.
  • But is there any worry in BJP’s top leadership regarding the Yatra?
    They aren’t worried, rather are concerned. The reason for this is that the feedback system of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah is extremely good. Even if a leaf moves, they know about it, they dont take any chances. The amount of feedback Rahul Gandhi has about the yatra, Modi-Shah have five times more feedback than the Congress party as in what has happened in which state. This is because they are twenty four hours in the election mode, the entire week, the entire year they are in this election mode. When after discharging their respective constitutional duties, they go to sleep, even then for one hour they must be thinking about elections as to which election is to be fought how. This is their style. They do not want to loose even a single election, nor do they want anyone else to win. Their focus is on winning election, so they take notice of it and thus they have taken notice of the yatra and they will take step when the time comes. So it is a fact that they are not worried but are concerned.
  • If we look at Mohan Bhagwat’s and Narendra Modi’s comments over the past some time, does it seem that their thinking regarding Muslims has undergone a change and that there are different ideas on this subject in the party?
    This is a fact. I just told you that Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are mastermind individuals and take decisions according to the time. They dont take decisions based on their ego rather based on incidents and developments. At times they take a U-turn also, keeping in mind the people’s mandate and people’s mood and elections. Now they have assessed that they dont have any threat in 2024. The so-called polarisation that had to happen has already happened, the Hindu vote is not going to veer away. So now they have shifted towards the reality, which was much awaited, so they have done so. Firstly, PM picked up the issue of Shahrukh Khan’s movie Pathan and in its background he said that it is unfortunate that BJP workers pick up trivial issues like the movie which should not happen. That day Modi became a hero in the Muslim community. That movie became a superhit and lakhs of people watched it. So, you cant match their vision, their role and their ability. Few days before this he said that wod with the Muslim community should increase and people should mix with them, specially with the Bohra community and sufis. So they are increasing their connect with Muslims and on the other hand RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is holding meetings with Muslims. Something is happening which is good for democracy that they are taking them along and it is then that in its truest spirit the slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ will become a reality. So it is current that a change is coming in BJP’s strategy and an effort is being done to bring Muslims in the mainstream.

During the show #JCOnRahulYatra trended top All-India on Twitter

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