Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Wednesday showered praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he has brought laurels to the country, even as he dismissed any challenge from opposition parties who appear to be joining hands against the ruling saffron party.
Speaking exclusively to Zee 24 Taas chief editor Vijay Kuvalekar, Amit Shah talked about the work done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government in the last four years and also about challenges that remain ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Here’s a look at what the BJP president said about different issues, including opposition unity:
Targeting the Congress party, Amit Shah said that in the last 70 years, the country just witnessed politics of appeasement and division of voters on the basis of caste. Shah further said that since Narendra Modi came to power in Centre, there has been end of casteism and politics of appeasement.
“Politics of performance is being certified by people across the country since Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power in 2014. I strongly believe that people stand with politics of performance in future as well,” said the BJP president.
He, however, added that when attempts are made to divide people on basis of caste and appeasement, there has to be some impact on the ground. “We want to counter it with politics of development, and I am sure we will do it,” said Shah in an apparent reference to recent losses of the BJP in Lok Sabha and Assembly byelections.
On statements by Archbishops:
When asked about the recent remarks by Goa Archbishop about “Constitution in danger and human rights being violated”, the BJP president termed it as his personal opinion on which he would not like to comment.
But he added that if they are making such statements, it shows that there is secularism and freedom of expression in the country. He said that the government strongly supports freedom of expression, “but if it’s about ‘desh ke tukde honge hazaar’, then it is not freedom of expression, it is sedition and will be dealt with strongly”.
“People who imposed Emergency in the country are saying that the environment today is not good. That is just a perception they are trying to form. How can they question us on freedom of expression?” said the BJP chief.
Amit Shah asserted that the government had done a lot of work towards solving problems being faced by farmers, such as soil health card and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana. “In the last 70 years, no one gave farmers a minimum support price of 1.5 times the cost of the crop. Today Modi government is giving 1.5 times MSP on both Kharif and Rabi crops,” he said.
On Pranab Mukherjee attending RSS event:
Responding to a question on objections being raised over former President Pranab Mukherjee’s scheduled visit to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur, the BJP president said that there should not be any controversy over the same. Pointing that even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi met RSS representatives, Shah asked, “What is the objection if Pranab Da goes to an RSS event?”
On losses in bypolls:
Amit Shah said that it’s not like the BJP has lost in all byelections, adding that the party has in fact won seven bypolls. He further attacked the Congress party saying that they had no reason to be happy about. “We snatched 11 state governments from Congress. Out of 16 states, they are left with just two,” Shah added.
On Opposition unity:
According to Shah, the agenda of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to remove poverty, but the only agenda of other parties is to remove Modi. Dismissing any possible impact of the opposition unity in 2019 elections, the BJP chief said that these parties had already contested against the ruling party in 2014 elections and all were defeated.
Referring to the recent show of strength by opposition parties during the swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy as Karnataka Chief Minister, Shah said, “you can’t influence voters if you stand on a stage joining hands…Mamata’s influence will remain confined in West Bengal while Sharad Pawar’s impact will be there only in Maharashtra. Similarly, Kumaraswamy cannot do anything outside Karnataka…there will be no effect of opposition unity in 2019 elections.”
On upcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh:
When asked about anti-incumbency on BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which are slated to go for Assembly polls later in 2018, Shah said that the same does not apply to all governments.
Asserting that the BJP organisation was intact and strong in all three states, Shah said that the party was confident of winning in all of them.