What conditions did you set before the high command for dissolving the Mahagujarat Asmita Manch?
A minister was stripped and beaten. Others were assaulted. It was such hooliganism, that too in a state where women could walk around safely after midnight, that led me to form the manch. I resigned and dissolved the manch when they asked me to. I have not put any conditions, but I have asked them to inquire into the incident and take strong action against those responsible. They should also investigate the defeat of party candidates.
Do you have any other demands?
These were the demands earlier also. Atalji has accepted them in spirit. The state president and chief minister should have a free hand to sort out things.
Chief Minister Suresh Mehta claims he has been given a free hand.
Yes, in spirit he has. The party or government can only run with discipline. Ministers or workers should not be allowed to stand up and criticise openly. It is the chief minister's prerogative to drop or keep them. He has his reasons to drop some ministers.
Who are they?
There are some who have been working against the government and making statements.
You also stand accused for contributing to the present mess.
We are all responsible for this situation. And we can sort it out.
If you are unhappy with the central leadership's actions, would you leave the party?
That thought has not occurred to me. Whatever I can do, I will do within the party itself.
There is talk that you met some United Front leaders in Delhi recently. Is that a fact?
I know Mulayam Singh Yadav, I first brought V.P. Singh here, I know Narasimha Rao. They are all my friends, I did talk to people to get support for Atalji. But after the new government was formed, I have not spoken to any of them politically.
Your colleagues want you removed for anti-party activities. What do you have to say to that?
They don't know what they say, so I forgive them. I have done nothing against the party. I do everything publicly—there is nothing against the party.
Do you think your party will split in Gujarat?
There is no question of that happening.
What is your role going to be in the future?
To strengthen the party and government. To return the faith of the people. Power is dif ficult to digest, but we will deliver the goods.