'Nothing is suicidal in politics'
A former Bihar minister in the rulingJD (U) government, Parveen Amanullah, who resigned at the eleventhhour before the elections to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Bihar in February, has been working relentlessly to make an impact in her Patna Sahib constituency. Amanullah tells dna's Ashutosh Kumar that she will keep working for Nagar Raj Bill and amendments inthe Panchayati Raj system. Excerpts:
dna: Do you think that civil societyissues such as anti-corruption and transparency work in acaste-ridden state like Bihar?
Parveen Amanullah: I do notthink that corruption is not an issue here. It is indeed a big issue.The thing is that it has never been tried, and the youth today is completely frustrated with the kind of system they have i.e the one based on caste and religious considerations. One has to pay a bribe for petty things. Not just the youth, everybody is realising that they have been taken for a ride over the years. People are realising that AAP is giving them hope, and not only hope but they could dependon it. In Delhi, the government led by Arvind Kejriwal has fulfilled its promises made to the people.
dna: The biggest criticism againstKejriwal is that he could not run a government and deserted mid-way.Can you comment.
PA: It is a canard that is being spread. These parties are so scared of Arvind that they will go toany extent to malign him and bring the party down. It is very easy to understand. They Delhi government was in minority and were promisedsupport by the Congress on a common plank of anti-corruption and other issues. But at the last moment, when they found that a strong Lokpal Bill was about to come in the assembly, they pulled out.
dna: They basically claimed that it wasunconstitutional to introduce the Bill in the assembly. That the way it was being introduced in was not correct.
PA: Not at all. It was not unconstitutional at all. The section that they were talking about says that it could be shown to the Lieutenant Governor even afterthey pass the Bill.
dna: You have been in the governmentfor long. What was it that was stopping Arvind Kejriwal to go by Delhi bylaws?
PA: This is what the by law says. Itcould have been done even after it was passed. It did not have to gethis approval before it was passed. It was not mandatory. Obviously,if you move such a strong Bill, you will make sure that you take all type of precautions.
dna: Corruption is at its peak inBihar. So why is it that AAP is not on people's radar here?
PA: Because they did not have any choice so far.
dna: But now they do.
PA: Yes. It is a new party. It has just started here a few months back. It will take us some time to instil confidence in people. We are prepared. We are doing our best. And itis not that people do not know about the party at all — as it is being made out.
dna: You left your cabinet in the Bihar government to join AAP. What prompted your decision?
PA: I saw for three years that whateverwe were doing to stop corruption in our department was not enough. We needed something stronger. So I took this chance. I found that AAP was completely committed and was following the right direction. And Ithought it was my chance. I was quite frustrated in my department.
dna: So you think AAP will change thesituation in Bihar?
PA: Obviously, it will.
dna: What are the things that you wantto do for the state?
We need very effective self-governancein rural and urban areas. The Nagar Raj Bill needs to be passed.There is no Nagar Raj Bill yet. And the Panchayati Raj Bill needs tobe seriously amended. It is simply terrible and that is why there areall these problems like misgovernance in villages. All the power is vested in the Mukhiya instead of being vested in the people. It will be a complete devolution of power. It will completely be in the hands of the people.
dna: Is Arvind Kejriwal coming to Patnato campaign?
PA: We do not know yet. We have asked him to come.
dna: What do you think about his decision to contest against Narendra Modi?
PA: It is amazing. Just amazing!
dna: Is it suicidal?
PA: Nothing is suicidal in politics.You win some. You lose some and then you win some more. You do not know who will spring up where and how. And I am sure he (Kejriwal) is going to win.