Statement from Yogendra Yadav, President, Swaraj India, concerning our stand in Lok Sabha election in Delhi
The stand of Swaraj India’s Delhi Unit concerning the use of NOTA in the coming Lok Sabha elections has led to many questions and criticism, including from our well-wishers. Swaraj India values and welcomes this feedback. We are sorry that some miscommunication from our end has caused avoidable confusion. It is necessary therefore to clarify Swaraj India’s electoral and political role and its position in Delhi.
A meeting of the National Council of Swaraj India, held in October 2018, laid down three basic guidelines for our position in this election: we must contribute to the defeat of the BJP, we must not join opposition’s coalition (mahagathbandhan), and we should identify and support alternative forces. Each state unit of Swaraj India has worked out its exact position in the light of these three guidelines, while taking local political situation into account. The position announced by Delhi unit was limited to the National Capital Territory. In other states Swaraj India has supported about 50 candidates (e.g. Prakash Raj, Dr Dharamvir Gandhi, Raju Shetty, Kanhaiya Kumar) and new parties (e.g. Hamro Sikkim Party, Makkal Nidhi Maiyam) across the country. Swaraj India colleagues have campaigned all over the country for these candidates. Over the last one month, before and after the said statement I have campaigned for various candidates in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra, and plan to campaign in Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
In Delhi too, our main campaign is “Desh Mera, Vote Mera, Mudda Mera”. Our campaign leaflet (attached here, which was circulated in the press conference where this announcement was made) puts it clearly: we are going to ask a series of tough questions to the three big parties of Delhi. If none of the parties can answer these questions satisfactorily, then the voters may punish them by exercising NOTA. We are not recommending NOTA as the best option. For us “No Till an Alternative” is legitimate but temporary and last resort option. This position does not contradict our identification of the BJP as the principal threat to our Republic today. It may be noted that in Delhi BJP is the only party that is scared of NOTA and is actively campaigning against it.
Accordingly, Swaraj India, Delhi Unit is organizing a series of meetings and door-to-door campaign asking significant and hard questions concerning law and order, corruption, environment, sanitation, transport, liquor, regularization of colonies, sealing and the status of Delhi. If no party or candidate offers satisfactory answers to these questions, we may still exercise the democratic right of NOTA.