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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: ‘Alliance and Congress want a contract Prime Minister,’ says Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said there are way too many knots in the SP-BSP gathbandhan and that the Opposition is working to create a situation where the government will be formed through manipulation and not mandate.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 31, 2019 06:50 IST
Amandeep Shukla
Amandeep Shukla
Hindustan Times
Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (PTI File Photo)
         

The perception that minorities do not favour the Bharatiya Janata Party is misplaced as substantial numbers voted for the party in 2014. And having witnessed “development with dignity” in five “riot-free” years under the Modi government, all sections are convinced that their interests stand protected, according to Union minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a member of the Rajya Sabha. He added, in an interview with Amandeep Shukla, that there are way too many “knots” in the SP-BSP “gathbandhan” and that the Opposition is working to create a situation where the government will be formed through manipulation and not mandate. Edited excerpts:

The Modi government has completed five years. There were very high expectations from this government. Why do you think the people should again vote for it?

The five years of the Narendra Modi government have been years of Iqbal (truth), Insaaf (justice) and Imaan (honesty). The dignity associated with the Prime Minister’s post was destroyed during the 10 years of the Congress-led regime. They were viewed as weak governments where even the Prime Minister was remote-controlled. Before this government came, corruption was all pervasive and the unscrupulous indulged in graft without fear. This has changed and an honest and effective government has ensured development with dignity. There have been development initiatives and even the weak and the poor have felt that this is their own government.

Your government brought in the EWS quota and also PM-Kisan scheme. But has not the Congress gone a step beyond by announcing the minimum income guarantee scheme?

The party that has maximum corruption in its DNA is delivering dialogues of minimum income. There is nothing more to it. They were in power for 10 years before this government. Before that they ruled for nearly six decades. They made mountains of promises and coined slogans, but solely to corner votes.

A perennial charge that the Opposition has levelled against your government is that an atmosphere of fear pervades in the country. They have spoken of lynchings and other issues. How do you respond to this?

Five years ago, not a single month would pass without a major communal riot in one district or another. No month passed without a terror blast taking place. Even after such blasts, communal harmony would get affected. In these five years, there was no Bhagalpur kind of riot, no riot like what happened in Bhiwandi, in Maliana, Aligarh or any other place. This was due to the strong administrative grasp and effective policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Terrorists who used to act without fear went hiding to their burrows. Be it Pulwama or Pathankot, where they tried to carry out their nefarious activities, steps were taken. After Pathankot there was Uri surgical strike and after Pulwama there was Balakot.

Another charge that your party faces is that the Balakot strikes were politicised?

The Pakistan-Congress and Opposition jugalbandi will prove costly to them. When the entire country is lauding the valour of our forces, these parties are raising questions. On one side, Pakistan is asking for proof and on the other Congress and its friends are raising questions.

But, as your critics contend, is it not their right to know?

See, defence or security forces, when they carry out a major operation.... the country also knows where, when and how the operation was carried out. However, the details are shared on the basis of what can be revealed and what needs to be kept secret. Congress and its associates want to know at what time the forces went, how they went, which plane or weapon was used, and how many were killed. Those who mourn the deaths of terrorists, don’t realise that people will teach them a lesson for this.

You spoke of riot-free and terror incident-free government. However, the perception still exists that minorities don’t vote for the BJP.

This is a wrong perception. In the last election, Narendra Modi ji got over 18% of the minority vote despite the strong campaign that was carried out against the BJP among the minorities. However, the minorities voted (for the BJP). The people of the country, including the minorities, have seen Modiji’s work in the last five years. So, the minorities are convinced that under Modi’s leadership the interests of all sections are secure.

UP constituted the highest number of MPs to your party in the last general elections. However, the SP and the BSP have formed a formidable coalition this time. How do you view your party’s prospects?

This gathbandhan has way too many knots in it. And by the time they try to untie them, the elections would be over. Secondly, what do Congress or this alliance seek? They want a contract Prime Minister. The country wants a perfect Prime Minister. They (opposition) believe the Prime Minister’s post will be up for grabs by rotation. They want a government through manipulation and not through mandate. The stability provided by Narendra Modi is vital for the country. Without stability you cannot perform. You cannot carry out development or empower the masses. In unstable governments, those in power work only to save their regime and not for the country.

Your critics accuse you of not having done enough on the jobs or agriculture front?

Those making such claims have never worried (in the past) about employment opportunities. We have through these five years worked to create employment . I collected some data, and in four years we have created millions of jobs and employment opportunities. We have taken up Make in India whether it is defence, auto, IT, electronics or other sectors.

For instance, if you looked at mobile phones, inevitably, there would be a Made in China imprint on them. But now you find Made in India mobile phones whether Samsung, Apple or any other make. If phones are being made in India, naturally jobs have been created. In agriculture, equipment which were imported are being made in the country. Similarly in defence, many new equipment are being made and more will happen in future.

How do you explain the defeats in recent state polls?

These cannot be termed defeats. In Madhya Pradesh we were in power for 15 years and despite that just look at our poll percentage. It hasn’t decreased. Similarly, it was neck and neck in Rajasthan. Chattisgarh was also close. It is correct, they were able to mislead the people. But people now are asking what happened to the loan waivers and other tall promises that were made. Now, farmers are not being given ~6,000 extended by the Centre by these governments. They are not willing to take up crop insurance for farmers.

You have been an MP from Rampur. How do see former SP leader Jaya Prada as the BJP candidate from there?

Jaya Prada ji will definitely win from there. Apart from being a cultural personality she has engaged in constructive social activity. She is the BJP candidate from Rampur and will win comprehensively.

Many stalwarts of your party like LK Advani or Murli Manohar Joshi are not contesting the polls this time. The Opposition has claimed that your party has not honoured its leaders.

Whether its Atal ji, Advani ji, Joshi ji or other leaders, we feel proud of their leadership and where they have brought the party. They are revered and respected by all in the party and will always be. As far as the Congress is concerned, rather than poking nose in others’ houses, they should resolve their own mess.