Prashant Kishore- I have met about 76,000 people in the last five months. What I have observed during these conversations is that a large section of people are either apathetic, resentful or resentful of the government. A joint anti-incumbency movement against the Lalu-Nitish regime is clearly visible in the last 30-32 years. I have seen for the first time that the difference between the concepts of the two governments is no longer in the minds of the people. Second, people believe that the government is no longer in control. Thirdly, most people resent the ‘bureaucracy’ (red tape), which leads to corruption and lack of accountability among officials. Another observation is that prohibition is a complete failure on the ground as people everywhere are complaining about it.
question- You have been quite vocal against the ban of late, but it was implemented in April, 2016, when you were an advisor to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
pk- I had nothing to do with Prohibition. My responsibility was only ‘Saat Nishche’ (Seven Resolutions of the State Government). Prohibition is a purely political experiment. I have been against it from the beginning. There are some fundamental disagreements with my prohibition. First, Mahatma Gandhi never spoke of state-led prohibition. Thus, if Nitishji says that Gandhiji spoke of prohibition, then either he is lying or he has been given wrong information. Secondly, prohibition has been the biggest factor behind the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. The entire prosecution and administrative wings of the government are engaged in enforcing the ban, which has affected its regular functioning. I am in favor of repealing the Prohibition Act completely as it is unenforceable and has led to loss of revenue and growth of the liquor mafia.
question- Explain the proposed statewide walkout to begin on October 2.
pk- The idea is to cover every block, most panchayats and all towns on foot, in a stretch of 3,500-3,700 km. It will take about a year to complete the padayatra. The basic objective behind the Padayatra is to identify and mobilize 40,000-50,000 people who have the social and political acceptance and mindset to bring about change in Bihar. Along with this, a manifesto will be prepared for each panchayat and town. We will also prepare a roadmap for Bihar’s development over the next 15 years on 10 parameters including health, education and infrastructure.
question- You also talked about forming a political party. What kind of party will it be and what will be its ideology?
pk- According to my discussions with the people associated with Jan Suraj Andolan so far, it is certain that a political party will be formed. The ideology of the party will be mainly in line with Gandhian ideas and principles. In my view, the party will be closest to the pre-independence Congress.
question- Is this party ready to ally with any existing political party in the state?
pk- Not at all. Although it would be premature for me to say that the party is yet to be formed, a new political system is needed to bring about fundamental change in Bihar. This cannot happen through alliance with existing parties.
question- You announced Jan Suraj Abhiyan when Nitish was with BJP. He is now with RJD. Is there any possibility for you to re-strategize your plans?
pk- Whatever happens in the current political environment, the campaign will not change. My meetings with politicians and their proposals have nothing to do with my campaign. Whatever offer Nitish Kumar gives me, I will not back down.
question- What has Nitish offered you so far?
PK- They have offered me, but I have refused. I turned down his offer in March and two days ago. He made the same offer both times – come with me and run things, but I declined.
question-You have a very strange relationship with Nitish. How do you think your supporters perceive it?
pk- It is true that we have a very good personal relationship and he is like a father to me. However, personal relations are completely different from political functions. Our conversation may be political, but I am not accepting any of their proposals. There is no question of deviating even an inch from what I have publicly declared. It has no significance. Mere meetings of leaders, drinking tea together and addressing press conferences cannot produce a new alternative. To present an alternative, you must have a narrative, a face, workers and organizational structure. I don’t find the ongoing effort to make a strong choice to be very serious or properly organized. What is your opinion about Lalu Prasad’s younger son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who is now the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar?
question- What is your opinion about Lalu Prasad’s younger son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who is now the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar?
pk- For me, Tejashwi’s identity is nothing more than being Lalu’s son. He is the leader of his party or the deputy chief minister of the state only because he is Lalu’s son. What work have they done that I should analyze or evaluate?