Deekshith D V
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, Nov 9: Former IAS officer Sasikanth Senthil who quit civil services last year is all set to make his political debut. He will join the Congress in Tamil Nadu on Monday November 9.
Just three months ago, K Annamalai, a former Karnataka-cadre IPS officer, joined the BJP in Tamil Nadu. Now Senthil, the Karnataka-cadre IAS officer, who last served as the deputy commissioner (DC) of Dakshina Kannada (DK) district, has now decided to join politics in Tamil Nadu that is going to elections next year.
Senthil, had resigned on September 6, 2019, citing ‘disillusionment with the state of democracy in the country’. He has participated in protests against the government over the Citizenship Amendment Act and other issues, after resigning from civil service.
Here is an exclusive interview Daijiworld had with former IAS officer and soon to be politician Sasikanth Senthil.
Q: What made you choose the Congress party for your political career?
A: I came out of civil service in the search of a system which will help stop this fascism in the country. I felt that the minorities and secular fabric of our country are under attack and if it is not stopped now then our whole country will be consumed. Given this state of India, I have since then been on the lookout for a system which will help preserve the sanctity of the country. For the past year, I have been part of all the people's movement, where I talked to the people and worked with those on the ground level. It is time for all of us to come together, the people's movement, intellectuals and secular political parties to oppose fascism and the principal party which can oppose BJP is Congress.
Q: Do you think that Congress is the right party to face BJP?
A: I certainly think so. Firstly, Congress is the only party which has a good following and a wide reach in the country. I feel Congress is not a party but a movement. The same movement that brought independence to the country. Congress is the only party which can oppose BJP from every part of the country. I personally do not think that any other party has this kind of reach and supporters across the country. Secondly, ideology. Congress has been always for the constitutional ideologies and is a party which never compromises in this aspect. Therefore, my beliefs match that of the Congress. Thirdly, leadership. The thought process which Congress has, thinking about the people and having a people-friendly approach makes it the right party for everyone.
Q: There are several secular parties, but you still chose Congress, why?
A: You tell me which party has the level of reach that Congress has? We have to join hands against the communal forces and Congress is that special ingredient which will help in this goal. Every individual should be a part of this movement and keep aside our differences. It is about our survival in the country. Congress is a small party in Tamil Nadu and people might think I should join DMK or AIADMK. However, my point is that my fight is not limited to Tamil Nadu. I want to work beyond Tamil Nadu as well. Congress is the party which can provide me with only that platform, bringing everybody together. Congress is the only party which never gave in to these communal forces. While there are many other parties who have compromised with these communal forces.
Q: What is your next step after joining the Congress party?
A: Tamil Nadu is a tough state for BJP and the state has always put up a fight against these communal forces. Protecting Tamil Nadu against these forces will be another important task for me, as Tamil Nadu is my birthplace.
Q: Since Tamil Nadu will have elections next year, are you keen on contesting?
A: My plan is not to contest, but to bring victory to all the progressive forces. I desire to work in the organisational aspect so that I get to organise the party.
Q: So are you saying that you will work to organise and build the party?
A: I will work in the electioneering part of the party and on a personal level I will campaign for the progressive forces, which is why I will choose to work in the organisational part of the party.
Q: You have worked in Karnataka, particularly in Dakshina Kannada then why did you consider joining Congress party in Tamil Nadu?
A: Tamil Nadu is the place where I was born and brought up. Now, that being said, I will make sure I work for people all over the country. I will be also providing my service in Dakshina Kannada too. I do not wish to restrict myself just to the constituency I belong to. As a member of the Congress party, I will be training, working around and asking people to join hands.
Q: Did anyone coerce you or approach you to join Congress?
A: No. I have been in touch with all the leaders for the past year. Like communist leaders and other leaders. To find a solution. I have also spoken to Congress leaders and they are happy to welcome me. There was never any pressure on me to join the party. It was my decision to join Congress and the time is ripe to work for the upcoming elections.
Q: What made you quit civil service?
A: There is a fascist attack on the country and it is spoiling the basic structure and fabric of the country. It is also putting the lives of the people in danger. I could not sit and watch that happen. I wanted to speak my mind and the only way I could do that was by quitting civil service.
Q: Do you think you can stop the growing 'communal forces'?
A: Absolutely. This country is not built on communal forces. This country is all about love and harmony towards each other, and to make sure that prevails we have to stop these forces.
Q: Do you think you can stop the growing BJP trend in the country when you look at their emerging history?
A: Their history is all about inciting communal politics, to conduct 'Ratha Yatra' and harp upon Ram temple. What other history do they have? If you know something apart from this, let me know. Have they ever talked about schemes like MGNREGA? No, they do not talk about all that, they just know to play with the emotions of the people. They are known to incite violence among country people, one of the places being Mangaluru where riots turned catastrophic. This kind of hate-induced riot should be stopped. If BJP puts an end to this kind of hatred, I will be the first person to work with them. However, they cannot stop hate, because hate is their way of playing politics. They induce fights between ideologies, between people who like to spread hate and enmity and those who honour brotherhood.