WION Exclusive: In conversation with BJP president Amit Shah
Accusing the Opposition of lying over the Rafale deal, Shah challenged the Congress president Rahul Gandhi to specify his source of information on Rafale.
BJP president Amit Shah in an exclusive interview with WION Editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary defended the Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik and said there is no reason to doubt the intentions of the honourable governor. Accusing the Opposition of lying over the Rafale deal, Shah challenged the Congress president Rahul Gandhi to specify his source of information on the issue.
Shah also discussed CBI row, 2019 elections and other issues. Edited excerpts.
WION: Amid the campaign for the assembly elections, a new issue has emerged. What do you have to say about it? Do you think that dissolving the J&K assembly was the only option?
Amit Shah: I don't think it's a problem. It's a solution. We do not have any reason to doubt the intentions of the honourable governor. Those crying foul also wanted the same. He has taken a political stand and cannot take it back.
WION: You have given an opportunity to the opposition parties in the state to come together. It's never been seen before that the three opposition parties come together to stake claim to form a govt.
Amit Shah: These three parties made claims of horse trading in the last week. These parties can tell you more about the same. I am only picking up from reports in the media. The administration and governor will know the details. From what I am gathering, preparations were on for the last three days. Based on that if someone stakes a claim which is not backed by any official letter either from the Congress or the NC- which to are presented before the media and not before the governor- I don't think that the people of the nation can be fooled by such things.
WION: On the issue of the Rafale deal, the entire opposition, including Rahul Gandhi, has made a huge deal out of it. Some say that it will prove to be what BOFORS became for Rajiv Gandhi. So is this issue being created only for the media, or does it have some truth?
Amit Shah: The Opposition does not have a solid issue hence they have created a fake issue out of this. They are lying. Not an extra penny has been spent and we have put our case in front of the Supreme Court. If the Congress has so much information what's stopping them from going to Supreme Court. Can the Congress President specify his source of information on Rafale? Are political parties the source of this information? Is this how one leads public life? He probably doesn't know that the papers given to him aren't accurate.
WION: What was the govt wary of when it came to the CBI that Alok Verma was asked to leave in the middle of the night?
Amit Shah: Two senior CBI officials accused each other of corruption. Who will investigate this now? Naturally a neutral agency. The CVC is probing the matter and till then officials in question have been sent on leave.
WION: What do you have to say to Rahul Gandhi's allegation that Alok Verma could have filed an FIR in the Rafale case and that is why the govt panicked?
Amit Shah: I don't know who scripts these allegations that Rahul Gandhi makes. If they tell me I would train that person. When Alok Verma was sent on a leave, two PILs were already filed in the top court. It had issued a notice after which a plea could not be registered. Somebody must tell this to Rahul Gandhi.
WION: There is a strong feeling that BJP may do something to create a wave in its favour. It could be the issue of Ram Temple or a war with Pakistan or any other issue which might evoke strong sentiments in favour of BJP. How true is that?
Amit Shah: See, we don't need a war to win an election. There is already a wave in our favour. We have given gas connections to over 5.5 crore poor households, 8 crore toilets have been built for the poor, 2 crore poor families have been given houses, 2 crore houses have been electrified. We are providing subsidised crops to farmers. The centre and state together are providing medical facilities worth Rs 5 lakh to every household. Can you believe the amount of work that this govt has done? A household had to bear smoke while cooking, that has been replaced with gas cylinders. A sixteen-year-old girl who had to relieve herself in the open now has a toilet. Can you imagine the boost in her confidence? A pregnant lady is vaccinated to protect her child and herself from diseases. There were 19000 villages where electricity poles hadn't reached even after 70 years of independence and now those villages are lit with power. We have made education, health and employment accessible. We plan to electrify all homes by 2022. All homes have a bank account. Our borders are more secure. We brought in one rank one pension. The growth rate has increased. Our economy has improved. Inflation has come down, so has the deficit. Foreign reserves are at a peak. The atmosphere of fear and insecurity is no longer there. No concrete allegations have been made against our govt. Do you think that the people of the nation do not know this? We ruled 6 states, now we rule 19. This is because of the faith of the people in our govt. Under the leadership of Modiji, we have worked to boost India's image globally.
WION: What if you come to power in 2019? People think that if you come to power again, there will be bolder decisions. There could be new leaders. Have you thought of an overhaul?
Amit Shah: We have only thought of coming back to power with more seats than we currently have. Our manifesto for the general elections will have all the details of our plans. There is a lot of discussions pending on the issue without which we must not make any claims.