Not playing minority card: Digvijay Singh

Cong general secy Digvijay Singh’s statement on Hemant Karkare has created a huge political storm.

Updated: Dec 19, 2010, 08:37 AM IST

At this crucial juncture when the Congress is already in a tizzy to rid itself of corruption and scams haunting the party, its general secretary Digvijay Singh’s statement on Hemant Karkare has created another political storm.

Digvijay Singh has been in the eye of storm for his controversial remarks for quite some times, starting from the Batla House encounter of 2008. Zeenews.com’s Swati Chaturvedi caught up with the ace leader to find out what he had to say about his controversial statements.

Here are the excerpts:

Swati: Your statements on Batla House encounter and Hemant Karkare have raised political furore. Why do you give such controversial statements?

Digvijay: I have never said Hemant Karkare was a friend of mine. But yes, I was in contact with him through telephone after Malegaon blasts. All the accused in 2007 blasts hail from Madhya Pradesh and I have always said that these people are engaged in terror activities.

When these accused were arrested, I congratulated Karkare and asked him to nab others too. Few days before the 26/11 attacks the BJP issued strange statements defending these accused. (Then BJP chief) Rajnath Singh himself went to meet accused Pragya Singh Thakur in jail. The BJP had then questioned Karkare’s sincerity and honesty, which disappointed the top cop a lot.

Swati: Are your statements aimed at garnering Muslim votes?

Digvijay: I have never been involved in low-grade politics. I have given such statements related to Karkare earlier also. Pakistan terrorists were involved in 26/11 attacks and there’s no denying the fact.

I have been projected as a Pakistani and my statements are viewed as aimed at garnering votes. All this is planted by the BJP and RSS. I have always said and will continue to say that Pakistani terrorists were involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

My statements on Karkare and 26/11 attacks are all together different. Rajnath Singh was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when I had demanded a ban on SIMI and Bajrang Dal, but he didn’t implement it.

As far as the Batla House encounter is concerned I have always maintained that it was not correct. Some of the party leaders demanded judicial probe, but our honourable prime minister refused and instructed the National Human Rights Commission to probe the encounter. People who were held on suspicion of terror-related incidents met me and said their voice was not being heard.

Swati: The prime minister didn’t give into your demand for a judicial probe into Batla House encounter. RR Patil and Janardhan Dwivedi have distanced from your statements on Karkare. Are you fighting with your own party or the BJP?

Digvijay: Congress has been fighting against Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists and will continue its fight. My party and I have never been on a different track. If they have said the conversation with Karkare was my personal matter then they are absolutely correct.

The media and BJP are both responsible for misquoting me. WikiLeaks also published on the same day (I made the Karkare statement) that post 26/11, Congress played religious politics. So, it is a conspiracy against people with secular credentials.

Swati: What’s your take on Azamgarh issue?

Digvijay: I have never said protect those who have been arrested. In all 26 youths have been arrested and more than 50 cases have been registered in four different states. I only advocated speedy trial of the accused arrested in connection with the infamous Batla House encounter of 2008.

Swati: What’s your say on the 2G spectrum allocation scam?

Digvijay: 2G started in 1999 under the NDA regime with late Pramod Mahajan and Sudanshu Mittal initiating new telecom policies. What went wrong is that the licenses were issued in a discriminatory manner. This was totally wrong.

Swati: The Supreme Court questioned prime minister’s silence on 2G scam. Your comment.

Digvijay: As soon as PM got the information, he ordered a CBI investigation into the matter and also asked Congress’ ally DMK to sack former telecom minister A Raja.

The 2G scam is being investigated by the CBI, ED as well as Public Accounts Committee headed by BJP leader Murli Maohar Joshi. So there’s no need of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe.

Swati: Why is your party afraid of a JPC probe? Talks are also doing the rounds that your statements are aimed at overshadowing the 2G controversy. Your say…

Digvijay: If the opposition says that a JPC can question the prime minister while conducting probe then why wasn’t he made answerable in the Parliament? The opposition could have sought answers from the government in the House and make it accountable to public as well.

If the issue was debated in Parliament all the political parties and the nation would have got the whole information.

Swati: This year big scams including CWG, Adarsh Housing Society and 2G spectrum were unearthed. Adarsh Society was one of the most significant as it was meant for Kargil widows…

Digvijay: Adarsh society was not meant for Kargil widows. Maharashtra government has ordered a judicial probe and in some time everyone involved in the scam will be exposed. BJP, Shiv Sena and bureaucrats, no one will be spared.

Swati: Has Sonia Gandhi and Rahul spoken to you on such controversial statements?

Digvijay: I’ve always had the blessings of Soniaji…

Adaptation: Biplob Ghosal