Former Udhampur MLA and Panthers Party President, Balwant Singh Mankotia recently resigned from the party. He had an exclusive interview with JK Media in conversation with senior executive Ashish Kohli.
Exclusive Interview Balwant Singh Mankotia
Q. You were one of the persons who laid the foundation of Panthers Party. What was the reason you resigned from the party?
Panthers party tried the best possible ways to win elections. Be it the main elections or the DDC but it couldn’t win. In Udhampur where JKNPP used to get 75-80,000 votes, it skipped to 20-25,000 votes. In the DDC elections, the winning party had 95,000 votes while JKNPP had only 79,000 votes. A huge difference of 16,000 votes cannot be justified. I feel a party needs changes when its losing elections continuously. Maybe the co-ordination wasn’t good. I want new faces to enter the party. Being the President I cannot blame any particular person for the loss. Maybe, some won’t want to work with me. So, I took the initiative of backtracking myself.
Q. Balwant Singh Mankotia, the name is enough whether we talk about the party or politics. People who have voted for you in the past would like to know what’s the next step you will take.
Voters and non-voters both are like my family. I will always be with them. I don’t love my supporters only when they make me win but even when I lose. I entered politics only because I like serving people and will be supporting them in their highs and lows. Doesn’t matter if I don’t continue politics, I may start an NGO. I had never imagined to be a politician until I entered the field. Before that I ran an NGO and still can. I will discuss with people and take suggestions. If I enter politics again, it would be something big for sure. The aim would be to win. It will be full fledged politics.
Q. The time you declared your resignation, people made different reasons on social media. Some said you wanted to join BJP while some said Panthers Party couldn’t win so you left it. Your take on this.
In 2014, we had almost finalised forming an alliance of 5 members with some other party. Next day we were told to attend a joint press conference but we didn’t. People told me that my party was fooling me very well and I had a welcome place in BJP. But, I didn’t back track that time and decided to drown with other party members. Right now, there’s no election. I am honest that I have neither been to Delhi before taking the decision nor have talked to any other party. I would be the happiest if Panthers Party wins any elections because it was my first one.
Q. While being in Panthers Party, we’ve spoke about matters of Jammu like unemployment. Many times you blamed other parties not to raise Jammu problems. Would you raise these matters if you join other parties?
Thoughts of a person cannot change, same way the the ideas and matters we are fighting for since college days cannot change. Being MLA isn’t a big deal, what’s big is getting the matters cleared even if you are with a party or an independent politician. Whether I rejoin politics or run a Non-governmental organisation, I will always raise the topics of Jammu and try to get them solved.
Q. PDP, BJP and NC have different agendas you might be well aware of. Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan party works on Jammu’s matters. Since you have same thoughts, would you consider joining this party?
I have given all the decision taking powers to my team. Whatever they decide for me, I would be working according and whatever I do in future will be seen by everyone (laughs).