Just hours after assuming office, newly appointed Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, in an exclusive interview to Zee News, said that he was chosen for the job not just because he is a Dalit, but because he has the “capability” of handling the crucial Home Ministry.
Shinde was speaking to Zee News Editor and Business Head, Sudhir Chaudhary.
“This is the second occasion since independence that a Dalit rode to the post of Home Minister. Buta Singh was the Home Minister in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet. I am the second Dalit to have the privilege to hold this important post,” he said.
“From a peon to a Sub-Inspector of Mumbai Police to a lawyer and later a politician, my life has traversed a lot. My story could be an inspiration for many,” he said.
Shinde, who calls himself a ‘true soldier of Gandhi-Nehru family’ said, “I have proved my credentials in the party and in the government. I have a long standing political experience. That is the reason for my elevation to the post of Home Minister. I am sure, I will do justice to my new job,” he said.
When prodded by Chaudhary on whether it was an “unfair promotion” at a time the country was reeling under a serious power crisis, Shinde said, “The process of cabinet reshuffle has been going on since last month. This has nothing to do with the power failure. The power grid failure was just an accident. There should be no politics over technical glitches.”
He claimed that his work as power minister was "successful". “My tenure in the Ministry saw an additional power generation of 80,000MW,” he said.
When asked by Zee News about his immediate priorities as a Home Minister, he said, “The Centre will work in tandem with state governments.”
The Home Minister also promised to reform the police system.
On Mumbai attacks, the Home Minister said that he will follow the foot prints of his predecessor P Chidambaram.
Speaking on Naxalism, Shinde said he will address the root cause of the menace. “One should realise that the Naxals are our brothers. We should not shy away from the reality,’’ he said.
On being questioned about using his Marathi connection to deal with Team Anna, he said, “Team Anna can’t dictate terms to the government.”
When asked further about whether the government is ready to talk to Team Anna, he said, “How can the government talk with Team Anna when the team goes on leveling wild accusations against many ministers including me. Talks with Team Anna will send a wrong message.”
Shinde further said, “The Lokpal bill is now a property of the Parliament.”
Praising Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Shinde said that he sees a shadow of Rajiv Gandhi in Rahul.
Shinde, who is tipped to be among the favourites to be named as the Leader of the House in Lok Sabha, denied that NCP chief Sharad Pawar was against his elevation to the post of Home Minister.
Shinde said, “I do not think anybody will be unhappy to see the success of his protégé. He is not narrow minded.”