Former Union Minister Milind Deora, who crossed over to Shiv Sena from the Congress today, told NDTV that “Congress’s politics felt suffocating and toxic” and that he wished them well. The 47-year-old, who has been among the party’s disgruntled section, had slammed the party earlier as well, saying it had changed greatly since his father joined it in 1968.
“I found it suffocating, and toxic. It certainly isn’t the Congress my father joined. They are not the same like they were 20 years,” he told NDTV. As an example, he said the party had resorted to name calling and personal attacks on industrialists and businessmen.
“The same party that ushered in economic reforms 30 years ago, is a party that is abusing industrialists, businessmen and calling businessmen ‘anti-nationals’,” he had said earlier today.
In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Mr Deora expanded on it.
“My father told me to speak well on Day One of politics… It is about working with people,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who brought the 1991 reforms, “never named industrialists and attacked them,” Mr Deora said.
“He (Manmohan Singh) questioned institutions. The Congress is personally attacking businessmen. It is very sad that party that was great once has gone down to a level of calling people names and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi names. I’ve never made such statements in my 20 years of politics,” he added.
Mr Deora, who was upset over the Thackeray faction laying claim over the Mumbai South seat, occupied by his father and then him, said Eknath Shinde has assured him that he could be an MP from Mumbai or Maharashtra.
“Unfortunately, the Congress didn’t believe that,” he said. “He (Mr Shinde) invited me to the party so that I could guide them. I want to do positive politics,” he said.
He was also upset over the party’s apparent lack of reaction to Sena UBT leader Sanjay Raut’s provocative statement.
“I did express regret over statement of Sanjay Raut’s statement that Congress should negotiate in Maharashtra from zero seats. Not one leader from Delhi told Shiv Sena UBT regarding the statement,” he said.
“They have reached a stage where they are dictated by a party which lost its symbol and has no status,” he remarked.
He also brushed off the Congress claim that the timing of his crossover has been carefully calculated to upstage Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra.
“It is unfortunate is that Congress has said that and if the big leader is leaving then they should address their concern rather than question the timing. It’s ridiculous,” he said.