‘And once someone is dead in a family the ritual is to shave your head.’
Congress MLA Bharat Singh chose to protest against the Rajasthan government in a unique way.
The MLA from Sangod, Kota shaved his head and accused Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot of protecting a corrupt minister by ignoring his advice.
Bharat Singh’s criticism could not have come at a worse time for Gehlot who was inaugurating the Chambal river front showcasing the development of Rajasthan under Congress rule, and given that critical assembly elections just months away.
Singh’s protest came two days after former Congress MP Jyoti Mirdha quit the party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com asked Bharat Singh why he is so annoyed with Gehlot.
You shaved your head to protest against your party’s government. Why?
There are two-three issues that I have been raising in the party platform to sort them out, but it was not solved intentionally. Therefore, I decided to shave my head as a mark of protest.
Any particular issue you wanted to highlight by doing so?
These are related to my constituency and I have been pointing it out time and again in the party forum. Now I am told the chief minister is in Kota and would like to meet me. I have got feelers, but let us wait and see what unfolds.
You are not highlighting the issue, but…
One issue is about illegal mining in a village, that I have raised. This issue I had addressed to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, but the mining minister of Rajasthan (Pramod Jain Bhaya) tried to prevent me from rectifying the mistake. This is one of the major issues that I have raised.
You mean to say the Gehlot government did nothing to prevent illegal mining in Rajasthan?
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.
I too have been a minister in Ashok Gehlot’s government and they are doing good work in various other fields. And we are hopeful the Congress will form the government in the coming elections.
But then one has to protest if something is going wrong.
It is only the Congress that gives scope to protest against its own party. The BJP never gives this scope to its leaders.
Congress leaders have the flexibility to speak their mind. In the BJP if you speak against Modi, you will be thrown out.
You chose a very unique way of protest, by shaving your head.
Ashok Gehlot is known to be a Gandhian and you cannot stand for Gandhian values until and unless you stand for truth.
I told him he is trying to shield the truth.
Unka imaan mar gaya (his conscience is dead). And once someone is dead in a family the ritual is to shave your head.
And since the conscience is dead, I shaved my head.
My shaven head speaks for me. I do not speak about my protest. My shaven head has become national news.
But Ashok Gehlot is known for his integrity, as you said he is a Gandhian. So why has he not moved in yet to resolve the issue?
Integrity is there, but to hold to power you have to tolerate a lot of dirt and filth. This goes with power.
To speak one language is one thing and to act on it is quite challenging. You have to keep all kinds of people happy. It is not an easy job.
You’ve got to give credit to Ashok Gehlot as he lasted a full term. Anyone in his place would not have lasted for five years in power.
But whatever the truth is, I have to speak to him and he has shown the grace that he wants to speak to me.
Will this protest not hamper the Congress’s chances in the coming assembly elections?
No, it will not. By speaking the right thing, the party does not lose elections.
And what about Ashok Gehlot’s image? Will it not be damaged?
There are certain principles that are above the party. I stand by my principles, I cannot betray my principles.
Truth will never go against the party’s interest. I am a Gandhian and I believe in this philosophy.
Two days ago, Jyoti Mirdha quit the Congress to join the BJP. Are you also planning to move to the BJP?
I cannot comment about her because she was in the doldrums in politics for very long. I can only speak about myself.
And let me make it clear, I am not going to contest the elections as I am 72 years old. I want youngsters to get a chance now.
Is that the reason? Or are you not going to get a ticket?
Nothing to do with getting a Congress ticket as this protest is genuine.
I have played my role in politics. I came to politics for principles and I am following those principles.
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