For two months now, I've stayed away from the goings-on in the party. I don't want to involve myself in any party issues and so I am not competent to answer that question.
But how can you do that? You are the former prime minister and chairman of the UF steering committee.
There is no relation between the UF steering committee and the internal affairs of the Janata Dal. The committee consists representatives of 13 parties and the JD is just one of them. And I don't want to react to whatever developments that take place in the JD. From the day I vacated the office of PM, I've kept totally aloof.
Because the party ditched you after the Congress withdrew support to your government?
Where is the need to discuss that now? I don't want to say anything and endanger the present government.
But is there a way out of the mess in which the JD finds itself now?
The party polls have to be held according to directions from the Supreme Court. Issues like revitalising the party can be taken up only after the elections.
Is there no hope of hammering out a consensus between Sharad Yadav and Laloo Prasad Yadav?
The Supreme Court has said that elections have to be held and I am only watching the developments within the party. I am not involved in the Supreme Court petition. And I have not involved myself in the business of hammering out a consensus either.
But you are accused of preventing a rapprochement in the party by backing Sharad Yadav.
Please don't go that far. I have not uttered a word in public on this issue. Let us continue this conversation if you have anything else to ask.
Do you think there is a danger of the party splitting?
I can't commit myself on that today. There is no need for me to.
So is there any hope for the JD?
Let us think of the JD's future after another two months. When I can't make out what is happening in the party today, how can I talk about the party's future? Let the organisational elections be over and then we can think of the party's future and about revitalising it.
But what role do you see for yourself in the party?
I'll work as a party worker.
What are you hoping to achieve by confronting Mayawati and showing special concern for Uttar Pradesh?
The UF steering committee took a decision to stage a protest rally in Lucknow on June 19. I participated in the meeting as chairman of the committee. Others like Chandrababu Naidu, comrade Surjeet, comrade Bardhan, Mulayam Singh Yadav and representatives of the AGP were also present. In that meeting, the Samajwadi Party president presented a list of atrocities occurring in his state: 162 of his party workers have been killed and 98,000 cases have been registered under PCR Act, Goonda Act and some other acts. So I suggested that the allegations, like murder, need to be checked. Which is why I wrote to the prime minister and the home minister to appoint a fact-finding committee consisting of three officers. And the report of the fact-finding committee should be placed on the table of Parliament on July 23.We cannot interfere in the law and order situation in UP. But when such serious allegations are made, the truth needs to be found out. I expect the state government to take some steps to improve the situation and curb lawlessness. If that does not happen by August 15, as I've said, I don't want to incite violence. There is already violence there. So on August 15, I shall launch my hunger strike. I didn't make the announcement just to garner attention.
But Mayawati has said that an unemployed Deve Gowda is just looking for something to keep himself occupied.
She can say whatever she wants. There is no employment and unemployment in politics. It is just that one has to discharge the job entrusted by the people. I am a member of the Rajya Sabha and have some responsibilities. She must realise the spirit and the concern with which I've said what I said. This is a free country and people can vote for whoever they want. But a political party after coming to power cannot take voters to task for not voting for them. If this happens, the whole democratic system will collapse. The BJP made a hue and cry that governor's rule was wreaking havoc in UP. Why aren't they saying anything now? Politicians should learn to talk straight.