New Delhi: The Modi government has completed four years in office. Amit Shah too is into his fourth year as the BJP President.
In an interview with Anand Pandey, editor of Dainik Bhaskar, Delhi, Shah speaks on various issues confronting the nation and his party.
Q. Is BJP’s golden era here? Or will we have to wait till the Congress is completely wiped out?
A. See, we never talked about wiping out the Congress. Yes, we have definitely talked about freeing the country from the Congress culture. India is moving in that direction.
Will have more partners in 2019
Q. Cracks have started appearing in the coalition your party is leading at the Centre. The TDP has parted ways with you. Shiv Sena too is unhappy. How many parties do you think will be with you in 2019?
A. We will go into the 2019 elections with more partners than in 2014.
Q. It is believed that in it is difficult to carry a lot of parties together, given the working style of Modi ji.
A. Arre Bhaiya, we are running the government. Are we not? It is four years now.
Q. Currently, you face no threats… you have a clear majority.
A. There is no question of threats. Even after having a clear majority, they are with us, they are in the ministry.
Q. If the equations change in the future and you do not get a clear majority, what will you do then?
A. It will never happen.
Q. It is being said that your politics is bereft of ideology. You went with JDU in Bihar….
A. (Interrupting) we did not go with the JDU. You are not right. Their government had collapsed. The reason was Laluji’s corruption case. Then Nitishji took the stand that he cannot continue with corrupt politicians. When a coalition breaks, another is formed.
Q. Even if you win less number of seats, you form a government?
Q. In Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland....
A. Which is the biggest party in Manipur and Meghalaya? It is we. If other parties support the biggest party, a government will be formed. If we had not formed a government in Manipur, then who would have formed a government there? The Congress? Did they have a majority? We have done nothing unethical?
Anti-incumbency? What is this?
Q. Elections will soon be held in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. How will the BJP fight anti-incumbency?
A. Ten years, five years…what is your definition of anti-incumbency. There was no anti-incumbency in ten years and there will be no anti-incumbency even after 15 years.
Q: If the BSP and SP go together in UP this time then it can be very difficult for you.
A: There is still a year to go. We are putting together a team. This time again, the road to Delhi will be through UP.
Q: You have very good numbers in states like UP, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. It is believed that your seats will be reduced in these states … how will you compensate for these seats?
A: There are 200 seats in the country that the BJP has not won. We will offset from there.
Rahul’s comeback? See the results
Q: After the Gujarat elections, it seems that the Congress has woken up. Rahul is making a comeback. Do you feel this too?
A: Looking at the election results, it does not seem so.
Q: But the impression is that Rahul has become more aggressive than before. He challenged Modiji. Both the party and Rahul seem to be filled with self-confidence.
A: Look, the basis of confidence should be a mandate. It should not be what the media says.
Q: For the past couple of years, the Congress has started toeing the soft Hindutva line. Their pro-Muslim profile is changing. Do you think that this will lead to the BJP losing its USP?
A: No, we want all parties to follow us. Congress should also take the same path. Communists should follow our path. We do not want to keep such a USP.
Q: Amitji, on the one side, we talk about going forward … talking about science and technology. On the other hand, there are issues in the election campaign – Is Amit Shah Jain or Hindu … is Rahul a Brahmin or not. How do you see this?
A: Who is doing all this? Who raised these questions? We did not raise them. You are putting your question to a wrong person. My party did not raise these questions.
Article 370: Issue still alive
Q: In the manifesto of the last Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had said that Article 370 would be abrogated. But now the party says it is not issue.
A: The party did not say that it is not an issue. There is a hung assembly in Jammu and Kashmir. The government is running on a Common Minimum Program. In such a situation, some issues have to be kept aside.
No national ban on cow slaughter
Q: Gau Hatya has become a big issue. (Shah quips – “From the time of Gandhiji”). What is the stand of the party on this?
A: The party’s stand is clear.
Q: Will there be a national law?
A: It is a decision to be taken at the state level. There cannot be a national law.
Q: One thing that is very much in discussion these days is that the opposition, the media and the judiciary are being suppressed.
A: It is not true. It is Congress propaganda.