BJP Darjeeling MP Raju Bista
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) “I find it funny that the party that has outsourced their brains to Prashant Kishore is trying to label everyone else as ‘outsiders’,” said 35-year-old Raju Bista, BJP MP from Darjeeling, in an exclusive interview with IANS.
“I wonder if Prashant Kishor was born in Eden Gardens?”, Bista said. He added that the TMC is intellectually so bankrupt that they had to pay someone to think for them, and they want people to believe they are the custodian of Bengali pride. “It’s laughable”, he said.
On the intensely contested elections in Bengal, Bista said for 34-years the CPIM soaked this holy land with blood of their opposition and for the past 10 years, TMC has continued with the politics of violence and murder.
“Today, the BJP is fighting to save the soul of Bengal, so that no other individual will have to die for their political beliefs. The people of Bengal have had enough of this violence, this is why they are joining us in our quest to restore democracy in Bengal,” he added.
Bista said that after coming to power, Mamata became more brutal and dictatorial than CPIM, and today the TMC is indulging in widespread violence across Bengal.
Bista said the people from Bengal can see the absolute lack of development, they have to live under police raj and dictatorship of TMC goons. “People in Bengal believe in the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and are striving for change,” he said.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: There is politics of violence being played out in the land of Tagore, Vivekanand, Bose, Bankim, Aurobindo. What is your view?
A: There was a time when it was believed “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.” This happened because great patriots, nationalists and visionaries like Swami Ramkrishna Parmahansa ji, Swami Vivekananda ji, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ji, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar ji, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore ji, Shahid Khudiram Bose ji, Bankim Chandra Chaterjee ji, Shri. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee ji were born here.
It is from Bengal that India derives its name Sashya Shyamala. But after Independence, it is our misfortune that the state was led by people without any vision, for whom remaining in power at all costs was more important than everything else. They have indulged in the politics of the lowest denominator (nimn star ki rajniti).
For 34 years the CPIM soaked this holy land with blood of their opposition and for the past 10 years, the TMC has continued with the politics of violence and murder. Today, the BJP is fighting to save the soul of Bengal, so that no other individual will have to die for their political beliefs. The people of Bengal have had enough of this violence, this is why they are joining us in our quest to restore democracy in Bengal.
Q: Mamata Banerjee says your party has created turbulence in Bengal for its own politics?
A: Tired of CPIM’s politics of zero development and maximum violence, the people of Bengal had voted for change (pariwartan) in 2011 and helped elected Mamata ji. But after coming to power, Mamata ji became more brutal and dictatorial than CPIM, and today TMC is indulging in widespread violence across Bengal. In the past few years they have murdered more than 150 BJP karyakartas. In 2017 they murdered 11 innocent Gorkhas in Darjeeling hills. Today such is the extent of violence in Bengal that the TMC Govt has refused to share crime data with the National Crime Records Bureau since 2018.
According to 2018 NCRB data, Bengal recorded the highest number of attempt to murder cases in the country, highest number of cases of grievous hurt, third highest number of violent crimes, highest number of missing women at 64,832. Conviction rate in case of crimes against women is at meagre 5.3% while nationally it was 23%. Multiple modules of ISI network have been busted here, Jamat-e-Mujahideen Bangladesh, even Al Quaeda terrorists have found safe haven in Bengal, and TMC leaders have blown themselves apart trying to assemble bombs in their own homes. Everyone knows which political party is responsible for violence in the state.
Q: Will the BJP perform better in the forthcoming Bengal elections?
A: Obviously, the BJP will not only perform better than the last elections, but will also form the government with a thumping majority. As I have said before, the people of Bengal are tired of the politics of violence, murder, nepotism, cut-money and corruption. People from Bengal can see the absolute lack of development, they have to live under police raj and dictatorship of TMC goons. People in Bengal believe in the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and are striving for change. They want Bengal to catch up with the rest of India in terms of development and exceed and they know it won’t be possible under Mamata ji, it will only be possible with BJP under the leadership of Modi ji. This is why TMC is becoming more violent by the day, as they can sense that they have lost the trust and love of the common people, so they are getting desperate by the day.
Q: Is the BJP indulging in polarising the Hindu vote bank?
A: There is polarisation in Bengal, but it is not based on religion, caste or class, it is based on the proven efficient and development-centric agenda of the BJP under Modi ji’s leadership versus the inept, inefficient and corrupt governance provided by TMC in the state under Mamata ji. People in the state know that the TMC indulges in the politics of 30% Fixed Deposit, but BJP does politics for all the 100%. We are guided by the philosophy and mantra of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Viswas”.
Under Mamata ji the family members of our brave army martyrs have been given a compensation of 2 Lakhs to 5 Lakhs, whereas the family members of those who died in Mecca masjid accident were given a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs. Please tell me, who is indulging in politics of polarisation? Rohingya and Bangladeshi infiltrators are allowed to settle freely in the state, just because they belong to a particular religion, isn’t that an attempt at polarisation?
In Bengal, all imams get a monthly stipend of Rs 2,500 since many years, but only a handful Hindu pujaris are given Rs 1,000 per month for the past few months. Isn’t this TMC’s attempt at polarisation? When TMC put a ban on our Hindu religious functions, to appease a particular vote-bank of theirs’, wasn’t that polarisation? When Mamata ji got youth arrested just because they chanted “Jai Shri Ram” as she was passing by, was that polarisation or not? Time and again Hindus are targeted and tortured, this selective victimisation of Hindus in the name of secularism will not be tolerated anymore. Today the entire country is aware and awake to this double standard and hypocrisy of TMC in the name of secularism.
Q: Is Sourv Ganguly joining the BJP and will it be a Didi vs Dada contest?
A: Everyone who loves Bengal is today looking towards BJP for rescuing the state from the evil clutches of TMC. People from across the state – irrespective of their caste, class, religion, educational background are connecting with BJP. Anyone who is a nationalist and wants to see our nation and Bengal reach greater glory is connecting with our party. Since this is election time many such names will emerge and are emerging. We are welcoming all who want to transform Bengal. But this election won’t be fought on personalities, rather it will be about Modi ji’s sushasan vs Mamata ji’s kushasan; and the BJP will form the government in the state.
Q: Is “Sonar Bangla” the answer to “Maa, Maati, Manush”?
A: Who doesn’t dream of “Sonar Bangla”? Today in Bengal under TMC – Maa is raped, Maati is soaked in blood and Manus are forced to live in fear under Police Raj on a daily basis. Bengal, which ranked number 1 in the country in terms of industrialization and economy during independence, is today ranked a lowly 15th following 34 years of CPIM and 10 years of TMC misrule.
Today, Bengal lags behind in almost every sphere, which is forcing our youth to go to distant cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru for employment opportunities. Between October 2016 and 2020 unemployment rate had increased by 217%. During the time of COVID over 10.5 lakh migrant workers returned from other states. Because of Mamata ji’s anti-industrial credentials there is no investment in the state, in 2011 Bengal attracted 1% of total FDI into the country in 2021 as well that figure stands at 1%. Bengal is number one in crime and corruption, but has been relegated to the margins in every developmental parameters. TMC has failed Bengal, as they don’t have any vision or plan for developing Bengal.
Q: Mamata Banerjee’s advisor Prashant Kishor has said that BJP will not even cross double digits?
A: I had read Prashant Kishor ji’s tweets, what I don’t understand is what is Prashant ji proposing to quit and who all he will quit? We all know his history of quitting. Elections are not won on paper. The ground realities are very different. If you noticed the CVoter survey people’s frustration against TMC government has emerged very strongly. 49% of the people have said they are not satisfied with TMC Government’s performance, and only 38% have said they are satisfied with how the Bengal government is performing. People in the state are sick and tired of the TMC brand of politics, and no amount of bravado or audacious claim is going to change that. BJP will form the government with a thumping majority.
Q: Is corruption an election issue in Bengal?
A: In Bengal, TMC’s corruption is the biggest election issue. There is not a sphere or field where TMC has not indulged in corruption. TMC was founded and funded by money from Chit Fund ghotala, lakhs of people have lost close to 45000 crores in Sharada, Rose Valley, Basil, Alchemist and other chit funds that are directly related to TMC. They have promoted syndicate raj and sought cut-money from every project, which has resulted in abysmal condition of infrastructure in the state. Collapse of various bridges across the state leading to deaths of many is a direct result of TMC cut-money politics. Today health care system is in ventilator, education sector is in shambles, across the state people are reeling under acute drinking water shortage, public transportation, road and infrastructure are crumbling, because the money meant for public utilities have been siphoned off to buy properties overseas by the ruling TMC elite. Such is the level of corruption that TMC leaders didn’t even spare the funds meant for providing relief to hurricane Amphan victims. They gobbled it up. Corruption is the main reason why the TMC will be shown the doors by the people.
Q: Will Left-Congress perform better than last time?
A: From what I can see, both Congress and Left are on the death-bed. In 2016 elections, BJP was an emergent party in the state, today people of Bengal see BJP as the only party that will ensure a better future for the state. In 2014, CPIM (Left Front) had about 30% vote share in the state, by 2016 it had reduced to 19.75% and in 2019 general elections their vote share has dwindled to 7.5% only. Such is the distrust of Left Front among the people of Bengal that they refused to elect even a single MP from the Left parties.
As for Congress, their decline has been even more rapid, in 2014 Congress vote share was 9.6%, in 2016 it was 12.25 and in 2019 they only got 5.5% of the vote. Fact of matter is that, today CPIM and Congress have been reduced to playing second fiddle to TMC, because of which people of Bengal have zero faith in these two parties. People in Bengal know that voting for CPIM and Congress is like voting for TMC, so they won’t waste their votes on these two parties.
Q: What is your view on the Bengali vs outsider debate?
A: I find it funny that the party that has outsourced their brains to Prashant Kishor is trying to label everyone else as “outsiders”. I wonder if Prashant Kishor was born in Eden Gardens? TMC is intellectually so bankrupt that they had to pay someone to think for them, and they want people to believe they are the custodians of Bengali pride. It’s laughable. This is one of the main reasons why those who love Bengal and India are quitting TMC in large numbers, because they cannot tolerate the hypocrisy of their party leadership. But if you look at the history of TMC, their hypocrisy becomes apparent.
I wonder where “Bengali Asmita” was when TMC Govt left over 10 Lakh migrant workers from the state stranded in other states to fend for themselves? Under TMC, Bengal has become a safe haven for ISI modules, Jamat-e-Mujahideen and even Al Quaeda terrorists, these people have lost all right to speak about Bengali Asmita. For TMC Rohingyas and illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators are insiders but Gorkhas who have shed blood to protect our motherland are outsiders. The Prime Minister of our nation is an outsider, the Home Minister and even the President are outsider.
Q: What is your view on North Bengal?
A: North Bengal has very rich historic, heritage and cultural diversity. The diversity of culture, people and language makes North Bengal one of the most cosmopolitan regions in India. We have Rajbongshis, Adivasis, Bengalis, Toto, Rabha, Mech, Hindi Bhasis and Gorkhas all living together in harmony. This unity in diversity is where the true strength of North Bengal lies. Our region is also one of the most important regions from National Security perspective. The chicken-neck corridor is a critical geography for India’s nation security interest. Our region has immense potential in terms of Tourism, Tea, Hydro development, International Trade, Agriculture, Floriculture and Horticulture. Given the recent tensions with China, infrastructure development has become a necessity in this region. But despite all the potential, North Bengal has suffered under TMC due their neglect of the region and discrimination against its people. BJP will work with mission mode to transform this region and rest of Bengal. BJP will ensure that Bengal will once again take its rightful place as engine of growth for entire India. We envision Bengal as reclaiming its glorious heritage and becomes the centre of India’s resurgence in the world stage.
Q: What is the BJP view on Gorkhaland and Gorkha politics?
A: See our party has committed to two core issues of the Gorkhas – Finding Permanent Political Solution for the people of Darjeeling Hills, Terai, and Dooars; and Granting ST Status to 11 left-out Gorkha sub-tribes. Gorkhas have full faith in the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, Hon’ble Home Minister Amit Shah ji, Hon’ble BJP National President JP Nadda ji and our party leadership. They know that the BJP is the only party that respects the patriotism and nationalism of Gorkhas. Like how we have fulfilled our sankalp patra promises and resolved tenuous issues like abrogation of Article 370, making triple talaq illegal, formation of Ladakh UT, resolution of Bodoland issues, issues concerning Gorkha community will also be resolved. We have made our commitment and our party will definitely fulfil it.