Elected leaders are accountable to even those who didn’t vote for them: Pilot

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Jaipur: Deputy Chief Minister Rajasthan Sachin Pilot on Sunday said the BJP was “morally bound” to reach out to those who are feeling alienated because a democratically elected leader would feel responsible for everyone. He was engaged in a thought-provoking discussion on the current state of democracy, dissent in the backdrop of CAA-NRC protests at the 13th Jaipur Literature Festival where he shared stage with senior journalists Rajdeep Sardesai and Namita Bhandare as the moderator.

Pulling no punches, Pilot said, “The Bharatiya Janata Party got 330 seats because (a lot of) people voted for them. They are morally, constitutionally and socially bound by the fact that they speak and reach out to those people who are really feeling alienated. It is not about caste, religion or language. When you say you are democratically elected government, you voted for me, you feel accountable for even those who did not vote for you.” “You can talk to your worst enemy but cannot talk to your citizens, your voters who supported you….There is no inclination to force the hand of those who run the country that they should at least reach out and engage with people,” he said.

Slamming the Centre for its position on the CAA-NRC protest, he said this government lacked a sense of dialogue, referring to the past where similar protests were addressed by engaging the aggrieved. “Traditionally in the last seven decades, there was space for dialogue, to engage, debate, discuss and find a way forward. Our democracy has thrived because there has never been a lack of dialogue,” the Deputy CM said.

On being questioned by Bhandare where is the opposition in the entire scenario, Pilot defended the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, saying the BJP government has always blamed its UPA counterpart for anything that’s gone wrong since 2014. “The Congress is doing whatever it can as the principle opposition party but look at what is happening to those raising their voice. Either notices are being served or sent to jail or threat of CBI, ED looming over your head. Not to say that it should deter you but the environment of the eco-system we are expected to operate is not what it was, let’s say, when Mr (Atal Behari) Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of India,” Pilot put in a blunt observation.