Aam Aadmi Party, alleged Maharashtra Government for misuse of Police mechanism to coerce social activists like AAP state secretary- Dhananjay Shinde, who organised farmers’ long march to press for Swaminathan Commission’s implementation for MSP. The party also called press conference to talk on justice to agrarian distress given large-scale damage to standing crops as well as harvested crops due to unseasonal rain. When our Editor-in-Chief Dr Vaidehi Taman spoke to Aam Aadmi Party leader Dhananjay Shinde, General Secretary, AAP Maharashtra, he said that the “BJP government has adopted the practice of institutionalised lies and deceit. Whenever there is a protest, it engages in a discussion with protesters, gives them fake assurances and then conveniently goes back from its promise. They even took the lies to the parliament when Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan declared that BJP never promised implementation of Swaminathan Report, even though PM Modi, who was also present in the parliament, had distinctly promised the same to the farmers. It is evident through the deteriorating situation and government apathy, that this government is not serious about farmers issues and is insensitive to their plight.”
Kishore Mandhyan, Co-convenor of AAP said, “We got together to convey our disappointment because of the manner in which government has responded to drought. Lot of people has been affected. The government has not responded adequately. We are not sure whether the state institutions like the disaster management commission have been fully equipped and they have a concept about how to reach people. We need to upgrade the system otherwise Maharashtra is failing in its duties to people.”
AAP national spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said, “We had received notice of state secretary Dhananjay Shinde for supporting the farmers march that came into Mumbai. After the big farmers march from Nashik the second farmers march was of landless farmers. A chargesheet was filed against us for supporting farmers. The government gives assurance to farmers about doing something for them. There was a meeting with the chief minister and he agreed to all their demands. However, no single demand has been fulfilled instead cases have been filed against farmers. This government is anti-farmer.”
It becomes imperative that all of farmers, organisations, common people and we come together to fight for the rights of the people. AAP protests with fellow member organisations of Sukanu Samiti like Shetkari Sangathna, Mumbai Tiffin Services Organisation, Kisan Morcha, Janata Dal Secular, Baliraj Shetkari Sangathna, Indian Environment Movement, Shetkari Kamgar Paksha, Communist Party of India, Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha and others. Aam Aadmi Party conducted a press conference to speak in front of media and express their concerns.
Here are the excerpts of the interview with Dhananjay Shinde
What is the objective of this press conference?
On October 14, there was State government GR – Government Resolution, any individual having any issue or problem or concern. For an example, it might be farmer, students or youth or teacher, they cannot go to any of their friends, relative, organisation or any political party other than approaching the government. Basically which is against the Constitution. If I am a farmer and I have a problem and I felt my crop is an issue, then I will go to the farmer’s organisation, I will inform other farmers or I will go to other political party or Raju Shetti and say hey this is my problem help me to get government grant. But if I approach government directly, there is no guarantee that I would get some benefit, this is what has happened to so many agitations by farmers across India. In the past five years, the farmers of Maharashtra are on constant strike and government tried to break the agitation. This government is not able to handle the issues or problems, faced by people and the country. And if the people come together to request the government or agitate, the government is making false promises and forgetting to keep their words.
So, do you think the government is getting good numbers of votes, just by not keeping promises?
This government is managing votes, they are hacking EVMs and managing voting for them. Government is not paying attention at all they are unable to solve the problems of our country. They have just created big media machinery, social media machinery, they are taking help of the international agencies to hype their agendas but in reality this government is a big flop. They are making misuse of the machinery.
Can EVM be really hacked?
I am a technocrat, I have worked with the companies like IBM, I was in US and basically my core competency has been into malware, hacking, spyware, spams, and viruses. So, basically they are making misuse of the machinery and they are getting elected, it’s absolutely the election has been hacked by BJP government.
Looking at the current scenario in Mumbai, Maharashtra do you think they really hack the EVM?
The primary objective was to get the power at the Centre and if they try to hack every election then people will realise that. BJP is smart enough to choose where they should compromise EVM and where they should not. You see, the moment political parties and leaders including Raj Thackeray took an initiative as he took a press conference in Mumbai on August 3 stating EVM threat, within seven days of press conference ED notice lands at his door. It’s not only BJP but also the Congress was aware of this. Congress has also done the same in 2009 elections. Our allegation is not only at BJP but Congress also has been doing the same when they were in power with absolute majority. The Congress and BJP are the two side of the same coin where policies are same, behavioural disorders are same.
Why Congress has failed in 2014 if they know how to manage EVM?
Look at the relationship between these leaders; have they ever managed to send Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Ajit Pawar to jail? Why only other leaders in the jail? It did not reach to the logical conclusion.
There are allegations on former AAP member also that they diluted the subject by taking benefits from the ruling party such as irrigation Scams and PWD scam.
It was just a hype created by the opposition and if you know just tell us which member is doing it; we will sack them immediately from the party.
They are not with AAP now, they themselves resigned long back.
Resignation is individual decision but party also asks them to resign, if he/ she is a culprit. The Congress and BJP are in close alliance and if you have seen it in a current BJP, they have 105 MLAs and couple of them from NCP and Congress. When there was majority movement at that moment NCP supports BJP. Our submission is that Congress; BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP all four of them are just fooling people of the country. They are managing the machinery for their personal benefits.
So, you are questioning the intellect of the voters?
No! Voters are very honest, I respect the voters a lot and they are very honest but there are some instances like the misuse of EVMs. How come every time EVM’s votes go for one party? Like whenever there is fault in the machine the vote goes to only one party.
AAP has failed to gain the confidence of people other than Delhi. AAP came with the movement, came with the good leaders and then they split wide open, may be that is reason people lost faith in them?
No… You being the editor of the newspaper you know how to run the organisation, there is concept called management of change and managing the change is the most difficult part in front of any organisation. And with the transition phase and capable leaders to mange is big challenge. AAP came out of the movement, so people from different class, different background supported this party giving their best contribution. For your information, in Goa AAP managed 6-7 per cent votes, in this assembly elections our candidate from Kalyan and Mumbra were at the verge of winning. We got 30,500 votes. Basically its all political experiment and look at our background, we all are common people none of us belongs to any wealthy family. We are farmers, professionals, youths and housewife.
Every political beginner is from the normal family.
If we talk about the alternative political organisation we want to experiment. We are successful in Delhi and we want to replicate same model for Maharashtra.
What are your demands through this press conference?
We are asking government to provide MSP as per Swaminathan report, instead of giving subsidy for fertilizers to companies, it should be deposited directly into the farmers bank accounts to ensure proper access. A Universal Basic Income of 6,000 rupees per month to be ensured to all the farmers and landless labourers. In cases of death or injury due to fertilisers or pesticides, an FIR and criminal proceedings must be initiated against the companies and concerned officials under IPC 304. Building markets for farmers to directly sell their agricultural produce to consumers without having to go through middlemen. We want government to be sensitive to the problems of the people, farmer and youth.
When can we see AAP ruling Maharashtra?
Our plan is ten year down the line, in 2019 AAP would be in principal opposition, by 2024 we will be in power. This is basically our ten years plan and lot of professionals are working on it. We have people like Kishor Mandiya who was political advisor and security general of United Nations. He is the same gentleman who wrote the Constitution of Iraq, which was destroyed by America. We have IITians. We have several best people who wants to do best for the society, they are just trying to build the organisation and will try to be the opposition party in BMC.
Demands made by AAP
- Deposit fertiliser subsidy directly in farmers bank accounts
- A Universal Basic Income of Rs 6,000 rupees per month for farmers
- If farmer gets injured or dies due to pesticides FIR must be initiated against companies.
- Build markets for farmers to directly sell their agricultural produce to consumers