WION New Delhi, Delhi, India
Mar 29, 2019, 08.35 PM
As the Lok Sabha polls draw closer, WION's Editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary spoke to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on a range of issues - from Balakot air strikes to the Bharatiya Janata Party's poll preparedness ahead of the general elections.
WION: You were the party president in the last election. You are the Home Minister in this election. At that time, your decision proved as a turning point. You declared Modi ji a candidate for the post of Prime Minister. What is the difference between the two elections?
Rajnath Singh: This time the BJP will win more seats as compared to 2014 because for the first time people got to know Modi as a CM. Now people know him as a Prime Minister. Narendra Bhai has increased the trust of people. And people want the country's leadership to be in strong hands.
WION: Modi wave was there last time. This time most people are saying that the wave is not there.
Rajnath Singh: Last time everyone was not aware. But many people had the information ... so people gave us the opportunity. Now after 5 years Modi ji fulfilled the expectations of the people, so this time our seats will increase.
WION: Can you say that your achievement was such that the voters will not look at any other side this time?
Rajnath Singh: Economically, India registered the fastest growth in 5 years. The growth rate of GDP increased. Bank accounts for the poor were opened by the Prime Minister's Jandhana Yojana. The poor were insured. Electricity connections, water connections and gas are being given in every house.
WION: Political pundits say that there is no vote in the name of development in the country but on other issues, your comments?
Rajnath Singh: I do not agree with this. People don't vote on miracles or on charisma. People see which government worries about public interest. Which government is about to work and can honour the dignity of the country.
WION: Do you think Balakot air strikes will prove as a turning point?
Rajnath Singh: I would not want to call the airstrikes as a turning point in terms of the election, however, it has instilled trust. It shows that our Prime Minister is decisive, the one who takes decisions and isn't afraid. People can see that the country is in safe hands, people have come about to trust.
WION: Pakistan has said that the information given in the dossier to them is not complete. Pakistan is also seeking evidence, the people of our own country, the opposition demands evidence.
Rajnath Singh: It is a matter of great irony that Pakistan is also seeking evidence and even those who are living here are also demanding evidence. I understand that in this regard the public will decide what to do.
I would like to say that no matter how many dossiers we give to Pakistan or all the evidence, they always behave like this. I would like to say that India is not weak. Pakistan will have to change its ways and crack down on terrorism and terror emanating from its soil, if it is not able to do the same on its own, ask us, India will help achieve the same.
WION: Did you ever think that after Balakot we should assume that now it is the end of this story or anything else can happen after this?
Rajnath Singh: I would like to tell you that India has never been an expansionist. India has never invaded any country in the world. But if you hurt the self-esteem, then India will not sit quietly. India responds.
WION: You would have first-hand information on the number of those killed in Balakot. Do we have any evidence, if yes, then when are we going to go public with it?
Rajnath Singh: There is no reason to doubt the bravery and valour of our Army. The operation was done on the basis of credible intelligence input, there is no doubt about this operation. If it wasn't a successful strike, then Pakistan would have not been bothered but Pakistan is getting disturbed because of this strike, we also have people of some political parties, they are having trouble too.
WION: But did we try to find out how much damage has happened? This is indeed a huge achievement
Rajnath Singh: Let's see, generally no country can tell what was the damage, how many people killed, no country in the world. Everything will be exposed on time, and I want to say that if nothing had happened then why was Pakistan so disturbed?
WION: But you must have calculated your risk that it is very risky to enter a country and attack there. Pakistan, after all, is also nuclear-armed.
Rajnath Singh: See, if it comes on self-esteem, then the person does not even calculate the risk. It is not necessary to evaluate what decision was take. Whatever strikes took place, it was an outcome of well-intentioned and calculated thought. There was no other option.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh speaks on a range of issue with WION's Editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary.