Swati Singh, wife of former BJP state president Daya Shankar Singh, is contesting Anurag Yadav, nephew of Mulayam Singh Yadav, from the Sarojini Nagar constituency in Lucknow on 19 February as a BJP candidate. In an interview with The Sunday Guardian, she talks about the tussle that ensued after her husband used “foul language” against Mayawati last year, and how she is confident that the public of Sarojini Nagar will make her win. Excerpts:
Q. You are standing against Anurag Yadav, Mulayam Singh’s nephew, from Sarojini Nagar. What is your strategy/plan, considering this is the constituency from which the BJP has never won. How do you plan to face the challenge?
A. I don’t think I need any strategy or plan to win people’s heart. The reason I say this is that I have received an overwhelming support from the people from the moment I was declared the candidate. I agree, Anurag Yadav, being Akhilesh Yadav’s cousin, is an influential person. But I can say this with utmost certainty that the public is with me. Till now, I have received phone calls from hundreds of associations and local organisations catering to various communities, saying they want to collaborate and work with me. I am trying, as much as I can, to interact with and understand my people.
Q. Last year, your husband, Daya Shankar Singh, made some controversial remarks about Mayawati. Then, some of the BSP leaders verbally abused your daughter and your mother-in-law, after which you openly took on her. What would you say about that?
A. What ensued after my husband made that comment was a political fight, which should have been handled at the political level only. After the incident, Mayawati demanded that my husband be expelled from the BJP, which he was, eventually. Even then, BSP leaders dragged my 12-year-old daughter into this ugly fight and made outrageous comments. That was beyond what I could tolerate.
I am not justifying what my husband, or anybody for that matter, did in that case. But it was important to set an example that these high-profile leaders can’t verbally abuse women and children and get away with it so easily.
Q. Your husband also made a comment about Mayawati selling tickets to candidates for the UP elections. Can you elaborate?
A. That Mayawati sells tickets is out in the open. Everybody knows it. The party’s leaders have accepted it. I have heard Mayawati has been given money bags in gifts on her birthday. But the bigger point is, that a candidate, who is paying one or two or five crore for a ticket, would want to ensure that he gets his money back in some way or the other. Can one expect such a person to even care about the public, let alone work for them?
Q. Talking about your rise in politics, a lot has changed in the last six months. From being a university teacher to a firebrand politician, how has the journey been so far?
A. I am overwhelmed with the public support and their faith in me, and that’s a big, big responsibility that I have to shoulder with all that I can.
Q. If the BJP wins, what would be its plan forward in UP? And what would be your role in it?
A. Sarojini Nagar is lagging behind in a lot of things when you compare it with the rest of Lucknow. The condition of roads and drains is pathetic. I first want to get the roads and the drainage system fixed, and then move on to the bigger issues.
People here want to live in a hygienic environment and I want to create an atmosphere for just that. Also, I would want to meet as many people as I can and attend to their problems. My doors will always be open for whoever wants to come and talk.