Monday, June 27, 2011

Power & Politics/ The Sunday Standard-Magazine/June 26, 2011


Sycophantic Congressmen see survival in

Rahul Succession


Congress leaders con't think beyond the Gandhis as none have ever been able to acquire national acceptability on their own. If the Gandhis are their past, they will also ensure rootless netas a prosperous future.


Who is in such a hurry to make Rahul Gandhi the prime minister? His mother, Sonia Gandhi? The Congress Party? Or those who conduct opinion polls? Constitutionally, there is no bar on Rahul from becoming prime minister. He is an elected Lok Sabha member. His party has 206-odd MPs who will be too willing to elect him as their leader. UPA’s allies can write to the President extending their unconditional support to Rahul. But in Congress culture, such constitutional niceties are often ignored or forgotten. No decision has been taken to topple Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through press statements. The allies haven’t met to express their non-confidence in him. But last week, Digvijaya Singh, known best for his destabilising acumen, unnerved the Government when he said that Rahul had matured and acquired all the necessary qualities to become prime minister. Diggy forgot that there is no vacancy. Manmohan Singh has no plans to quit in favour of the prime minister-in-waiting either. Both Sonia and Rahul have expressed their full confidence in Manmohan Singh’s ability to lead the Government. Since she herself gave up the top job, Sonia can’t be faulted for inspiring the sudden sycophantic swing in Rahul’s favour.

Then, why is it that some Congress leaders associated with the Gandhi Parivar miss no opportunity to remind people that Manmohan Singh is a night watchman and Rahul will soon replace him? That too, at a time when the Government and the party are struggling to defend themselves from an aggressive opposition and an agitated civil society over corruption and non-governance? When in power, Congressmen enjoy the present, but they always plot and conspire to secure their future too. For majority of them, Manmohan Singh is a soon-to-be-past prime minister. Digvijaya and his clones are emboldened by opinion poll results on Rahul’s rising popularity—barely a seven-year-old in politics, Rahul has become the most sought after youth icon in the country. With little administrative experience or ideological conviction, he is surprisingly perceived as India’s best prime ministerial candidate, leaving the incumbent prime minister far behind. More Congress leaders, chief ministers, Union ministers and even civil servants are seen hovering around 12 Tughlak Lane, Rahul’s official address, than at 7 Race Course Road.

The stark reality is that Congress leaders can’t think beyond the Gandhis as none have ever been able to acquire national acceptability on their own. If the Gandhis are their past, they will also ensure the rootless netas a prosperous future. Barring an accidental interregnum of five years between 1991 and 1996—when P V Narasimha Rao ruled both the country and the Congress—only a Nehru-Gandhi has dictated, directed and decided the fate of the party. As long as a member of The Family was in power, no Congressman dared to name an outsider as a successor to the throne. Even when Jawahar Lal Nehru was around, the question “Who after Nehru?” was raised only when he fell ill. Once Indira took over in 1966, the Nehru-Gandhi-Congress merger was complete; at one stage the breakaway faction was even known as Congress (Indira). With Mrs G began dynastic succession in Indian politics. All the powerful regional satraps who could have challenged her plans were either marginalised or thrown out of the party. Pushed to the wall during the Emergency, Indira inducted her younger son Sanjay Gandhi into politics, who virtually ran the government for two years.

From 1975 to 1980, Congressmen saw in him a natural inheritor. After his untimely death, Indira opted for son Rajiv Gandhi rather than any other senior Congress leader. Her message was clear: only a Gandhi may succeed her—which is what happened after her assassination. Even before death, she had astutely made sure that key people were in place to ensure that only a Gandhi would be an acceptable alternative.

The reason the Congress slipped away from its First Family after Rajiv’s death in 1991 was Sonia’s refusal to head the party. In 1996, once Narsimha Rao was defeated and defamed, Rajiv loyalists struck and also ejected AICC president Sitaram Kesari from his office, and handed the party over to Sonia Gandhi. Since she wasn’t interested in becoming the prime minister, Sonia predictably chose Rahul in 2004 to contest the elections from Amethi—Rajiv’s former constituency. Three years later, in 2007, he was appointed an AICC general secretary with a clear mandate to create a new Congress of young leaders and set the tone for future politics.

In fact, Congress leaders were all set to anoint Rahul as the prime minister had the party got an absolute majority in 2009. According to a senior Congress leader, no Gandhi would ever agree to be head a coalition in which he or she will have to deal with leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Lalu Prasad Yadav or Mulayam Singh Yadav. Obviously, Rahul is in no tearing hurry. He was candid enough to admit at his first press conference that “my position gives me certain advantages to do certain things. I am the outcome of the system (but) that doesn’t mean I can’t change the system”.

His occasional forays into tribal hills and Dalit hamlets have yielded little political dividends. His policy of ‘Ekla chalo’ in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh hasn’t bettered the party’s fortunes. His genuine attempts to democratise the Congress through elections have only brought the children of senior politicians into power. His core team of young MPs hasn’t been given significant any government or party responsibility. As the countdown to 2014 elections begins, it is not Rahul who is in a hurry. For he knows, he can grab the prime ministership if his party has the requisite support. But his promoters are keen to protect their own present and future even if it means killing the goose which may lay golden eggs in the long run, but not just now.
prabhuchawla@newindianexpress.com

Race Course Road/The Sunday Standard/June 26, 2011

When politics mixes with bureaucracy

Are we heading towards a committed bureaucracy? Is the principle of merit-cum-seniority a thing of the past? The method used to choose new Home Secretary R K Singh—a well-spoken 1975-batch IAS officer from Bihar cadre—reflects the change. If media reports are correct, he was interviewed by the home minister first and then by the prime minister before being formally chosen to replace G K Pillai. For the past six decades, it has been the prime minister’s prerogative to select the 90-odd secretaries for all the ministries. He also appoints all intelligence chiefs, ambassadors and other important officials. Conventionally, only the prime minister interviews candidates for the post of the cabinet secretary. Once a cabinet secretary—usually the senior-most IAS officer—is in place, it is left to him to suggest candidates to fill up other vacancies. Technically, the power to appoint officers above the rank of joint secretary lies with the Cabinet Committee on Appointments (CCA) comprising of the prime minister, home minister and the minister concerned. This practice, introduced by former prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, is meant to insulate all ministries against political influence and personal preferences of ministers. This system continued until the coalition era dawned in 1996, when weak prime ministers like H D Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral allowed allies to dictate their choices. However, Prime Minister A B Vajpayee restored the authority of his office and added a minor courtesy; he would consult the minister before announcing his decision. The practice underwent a drastic change after 2004, when powerful alliance partners like M Karunanidhi, Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, Lalu Prasad Yadav et al started to assert their right to choose secretaries. Manmohan compromised for the sake of Coalition Dharma. According to the bureaucratic grapevine, the cabinet secretary has been quietly instructed to take the concerned minister’s prior approval before a secretary’s name is forwarded to the prime minister for approval. Once the new procedure became public knowledge, many controversial civil servants lobbied with ministers to be appointed as secretaries without even having served at the Centre in any significant capacity. Congress ministers are following suit. Ever since the minister-secretary nexus acquired menacing proportions after 2G, the concept of an independent bureaucracy has collapsed. Now even a regional neta with dubious credentials can influence bureaucratic appointments through captive ministers.


Allies make Manmohan aggressive

The patience of our ever patient prime minister Manmohan Singh is running out. Hemmed in by his own colleagues and harangued by the Opposition, he has decided to assert his authority. At the last Cabinet meeting, the Government couldn’t take a decision on fertiliser policy because minister M K Alagiri was absent for reasons best known to him or his father. For the past few months, most alliance ministers have been avoiding Cabinet meetings even on issues that concern their own ministries, therefore causing delays in taking crucial decisions. When the cabinet secretary informed the prime minister of Alagiri’s inability to attend the meeting, Manmohan said tersely, “Next time, please call the Minister of State if a Cabinet minister cannot attend”. It was a remark also meant for Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran of the DMK, to be conveyed to his party bosses. The prime minister isn’t perhaps aware that Maran hardly matters in the party. The DMK, however, has decided to assert their chimeral authority through conspicuous absence than meaningless presence. The prime minister had inducted young, loyal Congress MPs as junior ministers in all ministries run by the allies in order to counter trouble. He has now signalled a new style of shadow boxing between the Congress and its partners.

Gender games begin over next President

Though the election of the new President is due only in July 2012, the speculation about possible candidates is on—more about the candidate’s gender than a name. With all parties vying to promote woman power in the government if not in the party, the possibility of yet another woman replacing Pratibha Patil cannot be ruled out. Since the Congress doesn’t have the majority in Parliament to dictate a candidate, it will try to strike a consensus with the main opposition party, the BJP. While it will be difficult for the UPA to ignore Vice President Hamid Ansari’s legitimate claim for elevation, the Congress may float Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s name for president; she is a Dalit too. It will be difficult for parties that have women chief ministers like Mayawati, Mamata and Jayalalithaa, and a woman leader of the Opposition, Sushma Swaraj, to oppose the choice of the soft-spoken daughter of Dalit icon Babu Jagjivan Ram.


Red alert for chewing gum

Chewing gum has now entered the political joke book. As the media speculated about its use as a bugging device at secret government meetings, various ministers and senior bureaucrats have decided to screen any visitor who chews gum. Some ministers even start their meetings with a joke about gum stuck under their tables. Last week’s Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh began on such a light note. Over half a dozen ministers were asking each other whether they have got their offices debugged. When the prime minister walked in, they stopped talking. Both Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram were seen to be glum-faced.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Prabhu Chawla_C P Joshi_Sachchi Baat/June 25, 2011


video

CP Joshi sets ambitious targets in road sector
Hurdles notwithstanding, the UPA government will make 7,300 kilometres of road in the next three years, says Chandra Prakash Joshi, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, six months after taking charge of the portfolio. “We have made targets, done monthly reviews and given a review presentation to the Prime Minister. We’ve painted a correct, realistic, pragmatic, picture before him,” says Joshi in Sachchi Baat talkshow. One of the rising stars in the party, Joshi surprised many inside and outside the party with his commendable performance as Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in the Congress led UPA government in 2009, after his first Lok Sabha win from Bhilwara constituency in Rajasthan. Before entering into full-time politics, Joshi was a Professor of Psychology at Mohanlal Sukhadia University in Udaipur. Excertps:

PC: So now a lot of your time is spent on a road (in a lighter vein)
CPJ: We are doing the work of making roads.
PC: So, have you started travelling by road? (Tongue-in-cheek)
CPJ: As and when the road is made, I will travel on it.
PC: Do you go from Delhi to Jaipur by road?
CPJ: I have gone two or three times.
PC: It must have been a harrowing experience.
CPJ: A four-lane road was made; we are converting it into six-lane. The construction of the structure for upgrading the road to three lanes is taking time.
PC: There has been time and cost overrun in the project.
CPJ: As of now, there has been no time and cost overrun. But the work is not going on at a speed that it should have been. Hence, it has to be monitored effectively.
PC: That means there has been a time overrun?
CPJ: After awarding any tender, the contractor gets a certain time period—25 months or three years—to complete the project. That time has still not lapsed. There has been no time overrun. But the work progress which should have been done in certain time has not happened.
PC: You have been at the helm of the ministry for one-and-a-half years. It does not seem that you will be able to complete the target set by (Union Minister for Urban Development) Kamal Nath, which he had said in earlier interviews to me. Do you have any plan in mind, or you are letting things run as they were?
CPJ: Kamal Nathji announcement was that we would make 20 km of road every day. He went ahead with that good thought. But because of economic recession, the concessionaire could not take up the projects as expected. Hence, a condition so happened due to the economic recession, that the target of awarding contracts could not be completed. That is why we could not meet the goal.
PC: When I did Seedhi Baat with him, the economic meltdown had already happened. On that basis I asked him the question that your ministry gets a lot of money from petroleum. As the petrol consumption rises in the country, your income would also rise. You could not meet your target of making 20 kilometre of road per day; you are not even making 11 km but an average of 7 to 8 kilometre of road per day, by your own records. It doesn’t seem we will have good roads soon in our country.
CPJ: No, that is not the case. When the NDA government started the work, it was done in PPC, there was a lot of time and cost overrun. When the UPA came to power, we tried to implement the PPP model to take the work ahead. Kamal Nathji took the decision of taking the work ahead in public private partnership model. Then we had a target of making 20 kilometre of road. But in the PPP model, private funding is also needed in additional of public funding, but due to the economic meltdown the private people were affected. Then there alterations were made to the plan, a committee was formed under B K Chaturvedi, which thought about the ways to solve the problem of the concessionaires. Then we came to the solution that the working capital to the extent of 40 per cent would be given in advance instead of being given in phases. As soon as the project is tendered, the contractor becomes eligible for it.
PC: You would have reviewed, in many states road construction work has not been done, or work is yet to start. Like, in UP, the Kanpur Lucknow road is being made for over a decade now; (even) a bridge has not been built.
CPJ: There are two different issues.
PC: But that stretch also falls under the highway.
CPJ: In the second year of the UPA rule, the PPP model was brought in under the aegis of the national highway program. According to the PPP model, the concessionaire who bids for the tender should also arrange the finances.
PC: Seed money is what you mean.
CPJ: We are putting in 40 per cent of the total cost of the project; the concessionaire has to raise 60 per cent of the money. He has to recover this money by collecting toll. Due to the economic meltdown, required finances could not be generated from financial institutions. This caused a problem and we could not meet our target.
PC: India was not largely affected by the meltdown. There are countries like Malaysia that bore the brunt of the meltdown. But the question is that targets are fixed taking all these factors into account. When Vajpayjeeji was heading the government, a target of constructing eleven kilometres was fixed, their model worked. There might or might not be cost overrun, but it is still said during his rule, road construction received a boost and a large number of roads were built, this is a fact.
CPJ: This is one aspect, the other aspect is not known by the people. In the EPC model adopted by them, decisions regarding Rs. 10,000 crore are still pending and are presently under arbitration. Should this kind of work be done where arbitration decisions are pending? On the other hand, in the PPP model, only Rs. 260 crore worth of arbitration is pending till now. This is the qualitative difference between the two that one should understand.
PC: Fights were more because, decisions could not be taken. But if the private party has to bring in 60 per cent of the money, he will delay if he cannot get access to funds, what about that?
CPJ: We have overcome that issue. It’s been six months since I have become minister of this portfolio. We have made targets, done monthly reviews and given a review presentation to the Honourable Prime Minister. We painted a correct, realistic, pragmatic, picture before him. We have an aim to construct 7,300 kilometres of roads, work on which will be complete in the next three years.
PC: In the next three years?
CPJ: When we will make 7,300 kilometres of road in the next three years, our goal will be accomplished.
PC: That means you will make almost 20 kilometres of road every day, around 18, 19.
CPJ: We will accomplish the mission of constructing 20 kilometres per day. Before going for elections we will tell the people that we have accomplished what we announced.
PC: When you will depend more upon private party, who is supposed to bring in 60 per cent of the funding, he will look at the viability of the project, talk about levying toll tax to recover the money. For example, take the Gurgaon highway, it is very crowded now, four five years ago there were hardly any vehicles. The same person, who is handling the Gurgaon highway, has also taken a contract for another stretch of road falling on the same track. If so many roads are handed over to private parties, is there a possibility of blackmail?
CPJ: It is not in private hands. We identify the stretch of the road, we get the detailed project report (DPR) made, following which the tendering process starts. We have changed rules regarding procurement and tendering and instilled confidence in people. You will be happy to know, (for the) first time the government will earn premium from these projects. On the Baroda–Ahmedabad route, the government will earn a premium of Rs 300 crores every year. According to the tender assessment done by us, in the next 25 years, the Indian government will earn Rs 34,000 crores by way of premium. This is the confidence we have been trying to build in the concessionaire. Hence, today, private parties are doing aggressive bidding, with 14 to 15 parties participating in one bid. Also, it is a good sign that we are earning premium.
PC: You are earning premium, but the pace at which the work is going on...
CPJ: We have a DPR for 10,000 kilometres of road. Recently, the honourable Prime Minister has told us to increase it; he told us that we have to have DPR for 15,000 kilometres of road. We are going ahead with a decision to construct 7,300 kilometres of road. We will award tenders for construction of 15,000 kilometres of road, and we have kept a modest target, that we will make 7,300 kilometres of road in 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14. Then our announcement of construction of 20 kilometres will bear results.
PC: Then you will calculate the average. But in the financial year 2011-12, around 45,000 crore to 46,000 crore rupees will be spent on road construction. Some of this amount will be brought in by the private sector, while you will bring in some. Now three months have passed since the inception of this fiscal. Has 25 percent of this spending quota been used?
CPJ: We are doing a monthly review of the targets set by us and we are going in the right direction.
PC: You said that the government will earn Rs 300 crores as premium, hence the government would not have to fork out extra money for spending 40 per cent of its share in road construction projects. Hence, you will be left with money. Then what will you do of the huge amount of money earned by the ministry by way of fuel cess.
CPJ: Roads are being construction under EPC, BOT and PPP model. Under the BOT model, the concessionaire has to give 40 per cent of toll collection amount as government’s share of revenue. The money from GBS (government budget support) is used for road work in Naxal-affected areas and the Northeast. For, road proposals are not viable for private parties there. Hence, our money is spent there.
PC: That part is cut off from the country, also there is not much traffic on those routes.
CPJ: There is not much traffic on those routes. There we will do road construction work from our own budget.
PC: You might have observed and studied, in the past five years, which are the states in which you had problem in constructing roads. I had heard that in Bihar many road works were incomplete. What is the condition now?
CPJ: The main problem is in states where road network is not good. There is problem with state governments making land available for road construction. Like in Kerala, Goa, Bengal. In these states there is no political will to move the natural habitation for widening of roads. While in some states there is problem in implementation of projects.
PC: Like in Bihar, where I went recently, roads are not being constructed or are being constructed at a slow pace. Contractors are not ready to go there.
CPJ: There is a problem there, especially in the area under the control of the left (the red corridor under the control of Maoists), where there is a law and order problem. Hence, the concessionaire has no confidence of doing the work. Hence, the speed of the work there is not according to our anticipation.
PC: Recently I read a statement that the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh came to meet you, as work on the roads projects that were planned was not even started in the state, or the work is slow in some areas. Can this condition be due to political motivation?
CPJ: There is no political motive. The chief minister had met me and we have explained him the money. Money is allotted in proportion to the diesel consumption in the states and is handed over to the state.
PC: Some for highway projects, money is spent in proportion to petrol and diesel consumption in those states.
CPJ: The CRF money, which is used for maintaining roads and repairing national highway already declared. The issue of the Madhya Pradesh chief minister was regarding CRF money, which is around Rs 200 crores per year for his state. But there was a sanction of Rs 1000 crore, we told them that in this case, we can only grant what is due money, Rs 200 crore to the state.
PC: A lot of national traffic moves through big states like Bihar, hence if the diesel consumption is less there, will they get fewer funds.
CPJ: It is calculated by a formula, though it is true that the money allotted is not adequate for maintenance.
PC: For example, if you want to go to Mumbai, you will go through Madhya Pradesh.
CPJ: Road sector is also a state subject. Government gives money for maintaining national highway. But we are not getting money in comparison to the roadmap of national highways under our jurisdiction. Hence, we are making demand for funds from the finance minister. Hence, he gave us Rs 1000 crore more than the last time.
PC: The national highway passing through UP to go to Uttarakhand has not been made, road to go to Lucknow have not been made after Meerut. Traffic jams are order of the day since years. Roadwork starts and then stops abruptly. In my recently interaction with the Haryana chief minister (Bhupinder Singh Hooda), he said that national highways constructed till the periphery of the city, following which there are traffic jams. Is this due to faulty planning, when you go to Sonepat and Panipat you see that the highway stops the periphery of the city.
CPJ: For making any stretch, for example if the stretch is of 200 kilometres. National highways authority makes roads on the recommendation of the state government, meetings between ministry officials planning commission, expenditure secretary. Also, when the route is declared as a highway, we give money to the state government for maintaining the road from the budget of Rs 4000 crore for this purpose. But this amount is not enough as the road area under NHAI has increased exponentially.
PC: There is talk of lot of corruption in NHAI, roads being under influence of the builder lobby.
CPJ: The B K Chaturvedi committee of the Planning Commission has given a recommendation, stating that for any road that is being made, the maximum cost should be Rs 10 crore per kilometre. If it goes more than that, the some specifications have to be altered. If the road cost increases, then the consumer will be burdened eventually.
PC: The aim of highways is to make traffic pass through the cities smoothly. At every border where the highway ends, there are traffic jams.
CPJ: We will address this issue. I agree with your point. We are now on Facebook to take people’s input on various issues, learn from problems faced by them. E-tendering has been introduced. Everybody should know that this particular stretch of road is being constructed and they can participate by giving suggestions.
PC: Thousands of crores are being spent on upgrading national highways, but state highways in districts of the country are being ignored and are in bad condition. There is a lot of problem faced by people going from one district to another.
CPJ: The states governments have the power to make and maintain state highways and other roads in the state. Our work is to construct national highways.
PC: Keeping aside your role as a central minister, tell me, in your role as a state leader and a politician, what you think about the state of roads in the city level, which is worsening in every state.
CPJ: What you are saying is correct, but in this country, the state and the local council does the work of constructing roads in cities. The rural development ministry makes roads in rural India under the Prime Minister’s rural roads scheme. Hence, three ministries are doing the work of constructing roads in this country. In many other countries, from rural areas to city, there is only one ministry that does all road construction work. Hence, in the city the roads have quality problems, congestion issues, but those will not be looked into by our ministry. But the point put forth by you is valid that we need good quality roads in this country, where at the district, state or national highways level. The issue has to be addressed; we are working on those lines and expect that the states will also fulfil their responsibility.
PC: You might also have been facing troubles in acquiring lands, hence your projects are stalled.
CPJ: Our compensation norms are different from others. We have given leverage in deciding compensation depending upon various factors. We are not facing too many problems. But the kind of environment that is in the country today, as soon as the road is made, the real-estate value around it increases. Hence, the government should identify the areas on the highway stretch where real-estate value will increase, once the road is constructed and auction it.
PC: State governments?
CPJ: Yes, state governments should auction, and after one-time compensation, we should also have a state in the real estate coming up on that stretch of land. We are discussing on these lines with the government, and expect that the farmers will also benefit from this sought of plan. They will get one-time compensation, but the value of land will increase, hence the government will ensure that the farmer gets his share on the real estate coming up on that land.
PC: There might be conflicts, you have one policy, (UP chief minister) Mayawati has another, Hooda saab also has a good policy, hence you will have to decide which policy should be retained.
CPJ: Land is in the concurrent list. Every state has an independency of making the law, it is good if the state governments are making good laws and giving lucrative compensation. This will lead to the farmers feeling contented. Our ministry is thinking. Till now we were making roads on the basis of existing alignment. Hence, habitation had to be shifted. Now we are thinking that we will make a green alignment, which will not disturb existing settlements, the value of property will increase, farmers will get the benefit.
PC: As of now, many of national highways are going from the heart of the city.
CPJ: Unfortunately, existing alignment is being extended in those places. Now we are planning for green alignment which will call for minimum shifting of people.
PC: On a personal note, you seem to be fond of cricket.
CPJ: I have played cricket in school and college.
PC: Sports Minister Ajay Maken has proposed a bill, that people presiding over sports management bodies should be selected subject to age bar rules and limited term. Many people, including Congressmen, don’t seem happy with the plan, BJP people are not happy. Are you satisfied with the bill?
CPJ: I wholly agree with two points, there is a difference between being a player and managing sport.
PC: That we all have seen, we get only one or two gold medals in competitions when we have a population of over 120 crores.
CPJ: That is why I think that the law is also needed to prevent misuse of funds. Regulation is also necessary, but law should be made in such a way, that people eligible for managing sports as well as sportspersons are able to be a part of these bodies. If we bring about such kind of an arrangement, then there will be an improvement in the field of sports in this country.
PC: This means that the existing laws and functioning have to be changed.
CPJ: Certainly. In fact, associations should not be given so much freedom. There should be laws to ensure accountability.
PC: That means you are supporting bill initiated by Ajay Maken.
CPJ: Certainly, the administration should improve. The financials should be administered efficiently, policies should be designed to encourage sportspersons, and morale should not be affected at the whims and fancies of some people. For tackling all of this, if a law is made, it will be welcomed.
PC: Tell me one ‘Sachchi Baat’. Who you think is responsible for the current condition of sports in our country? The administrator or the players?
CPJ: Certainly, the administrator has the role of being a facilitator. I am one of the people who believe that, if we give good facility and good administrator, sportsmen will automatically spring up and the best of their talent will come to the fore. If we just make an association and leave it to the whims of some people, who do not provide then facilities, then they will not get an opportunity to reveal their potential.
PC: Money is needed for sports, the cricket people have most of the money, they have crores, crores are made, but not in hockey, football, not in kabaddi…
CPJ: Cricket also did not become financially lucrative immediately, it has been done because there have been various connected developments relating to the game. Same should happen to other sports also, for example in Europe, there is a football league, which also generated a lot of money. I can happen in India too if we have a league here on those lines.
PC: There are many quarrels in leagues in India, unlike in leagues there.
CPJ: Changes cannot happen unless and until the administrator was to change the system. He must have in his mind that unless there are changes made in the game to generate resources and revenues, adopt good things and invite foreign counties, changes for the better might be difficult. You know at one stage what the condition of the BCCI was, it started IPL and there has been an increase in the amount of money generated.
PC: So you want that there should be transformation in the way sports is managed in this country?
CPJ: Certainly.
PC: And sportsperson should be given more importance.
CPJ: Certainly.
PC: Talking of your hometown Nathdwara (in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan), it is an old city (in the Aravallis on the banks the Banas river), but there is talk of the development has suffered, there is problem of cleanliness, and the (17th-century Shrinathji) temple is not developed as it should have been. Why cannot it be developed as Tirupati, like Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sabarimala in Kerala. It is such a big and old temple, with a lot of history attached to it. Why cannot it be developed that way?
CPJ: You have also been a board member there. There is a difference between the administration of Nathdwara temple and others as the chairman has an ex-officio chair. The temple board should make suo motu efforts to divert its resources; even the municipal corporation does not have so many resources as many temples. We have made efforts, during the tenure of the last government the work started, which now needs to be speeded up. I went to Nathdwara alongwith Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, there was talks to improve the work even more. The Rajasthan government has given Rs 5 crore for Nathdwara’s development.
PC: But all money collected is not used for the development works of the temple, roads have been made...
CPJ: The then chief minister Vasundhara Raje had taken a decision to the effect that 50 per cent of the money will go the temple board and the rest 50 per cent to the state government. Hence, that money has been deployed according to the decision of that government. Now the Rs 5 crore that has been given by Rajasthan chief minister from Ashok Gehlot for improving the interiors of the temple, and the traffic condition on the approach roads. We have involved consultants for the same.
PC: Some local people have been made consultants.
CPJ: We have involved some other people. We are also having discussions with the planning commission, on how we should all work for Nathdwara’s development. Because, lot of publicity should happen, it is such a place where people from all over the world come. If there is cleanliness there, then the country is appreciated. We are making efforts and you will soon see a transformation.
PC: There is a lot of talk of corruption in this country, Congress leaders and other party leaders are being blamed. People from certain quarters are saying that the chief minister should be changed, Rahul Gandhi should be made Prime Minister, even your general secretary said that time has come, it is ripe.
CPJ: This question was raised even before the elections, when people asked who your prime minister candidate is. Soniaji said that Manmohan Singhji would be our Prime Minister. In the Burari session also, Sonia Gandhiji and Rahul Gandhiji said that Manmohan Singhji is our prime minister. Hence, this is not an issue.
PC: But Digvijay Singh said it.
CPJ: It might be his individual opinion.
PC: Is this not Congress party’s opinion?
CPJ: The Congress party’s leadership, Sonia Gandhiji, who is our President, CWC decides. Today in our country we all know that Sonia Gandhiji, Rahul Gandhiji…the whole Congress party is running the country under the Prime Ministership of Manmohan Singhji.
PC: Digvijay Singh’s statements raise a question over Prime Minsiter’s stability.
CPJ: He cleared his views yesterday.
PC: He is the general secretary of AICC.
CPJ: He expressed his views yesterday. That is sufficient in itself.
PC: Joshiji, what is your dream?
CPJ: My dream is.... There is new leadership in this country, Rahul Gandhi, who feels that this country should not be two Indias. In this country, even resident of Bharat should be able to access facilities of India. The poor villagers of this country should get an opportunity to manifest their capability and potential. They should also be able to say with confidence that they have been a participant in taking India ahead, of which he also receives benefits of opportunities. Our leadership is working towards India such country. I am proud that my leadership has given me this opportunity to play a role in building India.
PC: May your wishes come true.
CPJ: Thank You

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Prabhu Chawla_Sachchi Baat with Nitin Gadkari


Hindutva is not our political Agenda, it is our inspiration

The BJP is not having the best of its times—even as the country’s principal opposition party. So it isn’t a particularly comfortable for its top leader to answer questions regarding the party’s recent spell of poll reverses, apparent difference in the top ranks and preparations for the coming elections in some states where the party used to be relatively strong. BJP president Nitin Gadkari, known for his clean image and impressive performance as minister for PWD in Maharashtra (1995-99) and as one of the architects of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana scheme the NDA undertook during its rule between 1999 and 2004, talks to a string of tough questions by Sachchi Baat. Excerpts:

Our guest for today on Sachchi Baat is president of Bharatiya Janta Party, Nitin Gadkari. Welcome to our show.

Thank You, Prabhuji!

PC: “Sachchi Baat’ Karni hain aaj aap se

NG: Main jab bhee bolta hoon, sachchi baat karta hoon, danke ki chot par. I don’t like, but there is one thing: if it is difficult to tell the truth, then I keep quiet. But will not lie.

PC: It is very difficult for a politician to say the truth. If I ask you why it took you so many years to take back Uma Bharti, you might not tell the truth

NG: I will tell the truth.

PC: Who was annoyed with her?

NG: I will not tell who was annoyed with her.

PC: That means you will not tell the truth.

NG: See, what I promised you. I will not lie, but say the truth. But where saying the truth is not possible, there I will keep quiet.

PC: So you will not tell who was annoyed.

NG: See, the thing is that when the decision regarding Uma Bharti was taken, it was a a unanimous one taken after talking to everybody. And the decision was welcomed by everybody.

PC: Some people were annoyed, that it why the decision came so late.

NG: It takes time to take some decisions.

PC: What is the aim and intention behind taking back Uma Bharti? It is not about the individual, there might be some philosophy, principle because an individual is not important in your party, but that also happened in the party in the past 15-20 years.

NG: See, you have asked a good question. From the day I am party president, I have made up my mind like Arjun. When Dronacharyaji asked Arjun what he saw, he said he could see only the eye of the fish. Likewise, I can see the 2014 elections, and my mission is to see a BJP government under the leadership of the NDA (National Democratic Alliance). For this mission, I want to increase the vote-bank of the party, and enjoin all people whose thoughts and line of thinking are like ours. I want to take back old people who left because of some reasons. And also make efforts to clear misconception in the mind of Scheduled Castes, Schedules Tribes, minorities, workers in unorganised sector, and intellectuals like doctors, professors, lawyers and opinion-makers. Welcome them into the party fold and increase the support of the party by ten per cent.

PC: There was a time when the BJP was known as a party with a difference, as told by Advaniji. Later it became a party with differences. Now, eight years out of power, the condition still remains the same: personalities are pitted against each other. The ideology, beliefs of the party cannot be seen any more. Do they exist?

NG: In fact, you are not able to see it clearly.

PC: I think I have put on spectacles/glasses.

NG: There is a need for you to change the spectacles/glasses. See the past six months; the differences in the party are negligible.

PC: Shushma Swaraj has given a whole speech.

NG: See Prabhuji, the party is united and people are working together. Many decisions taken recently were very important. There might be differences of opinion on an issue, but not in the minds of people. And please understand one thing in the history of India: we are a principal opposition party and a democratic party. Our party is not a proprietary concern. Humari maa beton ki party nahin hain.

PC: You say there are no differences. But one leader openly spoke out in the open that the person was not involved in the decision-making. I am not taking names, but differences are evident.

NG: See, this is the issue pertaining to the year 2008. The issue is over now.

PC: I am talking about 2011, May.

NG: See, I have spoken to Sushmaji and other leaders after the incident. The issue is now over. The whole interview of Outlook was good, but only because of two three sentences you people got a chance. My intention was not that as was put forth. But all said and done, the issue is over.

PC: After coming to power, your leaders became arrogant. Same like leaders like the Congress party are called now. But now eight years out of power, the leaders are still arrogant.

NG: If being arrogant meant having a lot of self-confidence, then I would have been very happy. There is no arrogance, the whole environment it positive, there is collective leadership and everybody takes decisions together. There is no supremacy of the president. I have undoubted authority. But still, before taking a decision, I speak to people, take their opinion, bring them all on one table and agenda, following which a unanimous decision is taken with everybody’s agreement. See, this is the strength of a democracy, and a speciality of the BJP. Even in the history of India, let me ask you, which political party has fifteen to eighteen people sitting together, discussing, debating, thinking, developing an idea and working together to take a decision? Does it happen in the Congress party?

PC: When are decisions taken in your party? Five assembly elections happened recently; the party fared badly everywhere. You said before the elections, the president has the onus of motivating party workers. You fought elections in 826 seats, won only six seats.

NG: See, Prabhuji, our vote share increase by 0.5 per cent in Assam.

PC: But the number of elected representatives came down.

NG: In Tamil Nadu, our vote share increased by 1.5 per cent. Out vote share increased by 2.5 per cent in Kerala, and 1.75 per cent in West Bengal.

PC: Vote share is bound to increase, as this time you contested elections in over 800 seats, whereas last time you contested elections in only 400.

NG: Earlier also we had six seats out of 826, now also we have retained six.

PC: You had eleven, ten in Assam.

NG: But we had removed some people from the party.

PC: But they had won on a BJP ticket.

NG: In Barak valley in Assam, we have lost five per cent of the vote; in the remaining part, we have gained five per cent. Only Barak valley is the place where we did not get the expected results. Secondly, I agree with you: we had no major stake in these five states; even then we did not get the anticipated success. Hence, I accept this fact. But to say that it is a crushing defeat of ours is not true. We are trying to make a place for us in these states, and I am confident that in times to come we will make our presence felt will full force.

PC: I don’t want to discuss state elections. What I am asking is why no new people are joining the party. Not even small parties are aligning (with BJP).

NG: In Karnataka, we won three seats earlier held by the Congress and the Janata Dal.

PC: But you are talking of BJP-ruled states. I don’t want to get into small things, like you have lost municipal elections in Gujarat.

NG: Where have we lost elections, our success rate has been 85 per cent.

PC: Am not talking about small successes, but major forays where the party needs to grow…in states like Uttar Pradesh, in Assam, where you were very confidently saying that you will form a government. Even after the votes were polled, your leaders said they would form the government there. Do you agree that your party’s acceptability, credibility, reliability are lessening by the day?

NG: See; let me tell you, our party’s growth graph is increasing continuously. In Uttar Pradesh, we will build our strength and emerge as a strong party. The way rallies are happening, peoples participation is increasing, new people are joining the party, Uma Bharti has come into the party is a positive sign. In the recently times, there have been no elections on our home ground, which will actually test the strength of our party. Our home ground is Uttar Pradesh; our home ground is Uttarakhand, our home ground is Punjab. Now let the elections happen in these states, then you decide. In the case of Rajasthan...

PC: You had four seats in Tamil Nadu, six in Andhra Pradesh, there was a Member of Parliament and minister from West Bengal in your government, there were ministers in your government from Assam. Hence, it cannot be said that you had no presence in these states. Now that you have lost elections, you are saying that your presence is not that good in those states.

NG: Let me tell you, we did not get the expected success in Assam. In 3 seats in Kerala, we polled more than 45,000 votes and lost by a margin of less than 5,000 votes. Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Bengal were one-sided elections; there is polarisation between two parties and alliances in these states. Hence the possibility of us succeeding there was less, and hence we also did not have expectations. In Assam, we were expecting to win anywhere between 15 and 20 seats. We have won five seats there; hence we didn’t get the expected in Assam.

PC: Let’s not talk about Karnataka, where you have (Chief Minister B S) Yedyurappa and a strong leadership. But keeping in mind your Arjun-like goal for 2014, you need to have a presence in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam. But, in the recent assembly elections, there was no presence of any local leadership; one could see national leaders campaigning in those states. May I ask you who your local leader in Assam was; I don’t remember anyone. Recently, you sent Uma Bharati in UP. It means there are some problems and difficulties you have in projecting a local leader.

NG: In Assam, our party has many capable leaders. In Dibrugarh and surrounding district Sonwaljia, our voting percentage has increased drastically. If the Bharatiya Janta Party has lost in Assam, we are worried and thinking also. We are studying the whole phenomenon.

PC: I am talking about local leaders. You have leaders like Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Narendra Modi, Raman Singh and Uma Bharti in other states. But in UP you don’t have any local leader, West Bengal you don’t have any local leader. One can see central leaders making statements about making claims about whether they will win or lose in Assam.

NG: We have leaders; there has been a lot of work done under the leadership of Rahul Sinha in West Bengal and in a confrontational manner. But he will take more time to work in that process, though he has worked wonderfully. In Tamil Nadu, Pon Radhakrishnan, who has been an MP, has a strong support in the backward community has worked well. He is an honest and hardworking party worker.

PC: You are ready to agree, even though you say you have local leaders but you didn’t project them.

NG: Sir, one thing I agree: in Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Kerala, there is need for us to do more work. In those states, there has been a polarisation between two parties; it is difficult for a third party to acquire space. It will take some time. And I can tell you confidently, Prabhuji, the kind of efforts that we have taken in these states this time around has led to a formation of a skeleton, a structure, and in the coming times, this structure will help us a lot.

PC: Leaders like Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Narendrabhai Modi, Raman Singhji and some other leaders came up. Leaders like Advaniji and Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji came up. Then how come there is a bankruptcy now that there is no leader in Punjab, Haryana, no leader in Delhi who is capable of leading party to electoral victory—same in Assam, West Bengal. In the whole of India, six leaders, including Yedurappa and others, who came up, there is no leader. The formation and growth of party worker and leader has stopped.

NG: There is a slight difference. We have leaders, but have not grown in stature and support up to a point where they and lead the state and become chief ministers. This is a process where we are weak. I don’t claim we are strong here: Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

PC: No, but I am talking about Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, please tell, who are there?

NG: There is no shortage of leaders in Delhi.

PC: If you count 11, Ashoka Road, when many leaders sit, then you have many leaders.

NG: Please don’t talk about Delhi, we have five six good leaders here.

PC: In Haryana you have no worthwhile leader, whom the people know.

NG: Why not, Captain Abhimanyu (Singh) lost the parliamentary seat by a thin margin of votes.

PC: Leaving these things, there was one area where the BJP used to be distinct for others, the ideology of Bharatiya Janta Party, Hindutva and Swadeshi, you have almost on the way to forgetting both. This is true, you own party workers talk about it.

NG: Media’s work is a good one, if we talk about Hindutva, then we are criticised for being communal.

PC: Does that make a difference to you?

NG: If we don’t talk of Hindutva, then you ask what happened to Hindutva. Let me tell you, what is hindutva? The 150th anniversary of Swami Vivekanand is on the anvil, and let me tell you, Vivekanandhi has told great things about Hindutva. The Supreme Court has given a good definition of Hindutva. Hindutva means good governance.

PC: You mean to say Ram Rajya?

NG: What is Ram Rajya if not Hindutva? It is also ideal government, and that is Hindutva. Hindutva is nationalism, Hindutva is good governance, Hindutva is tolerance.

PC: What when you leaders, while talking to Americans say that Hindutva is vote-bank politics for us, we talk about it as a matter of convenience and votes. Then you deny it, if that is not true, then the other things are also not true on the basis of which you have been attacking others.

NG: Prabhuji, there are some things which will interest you.

PC: It is about India’s interest.

NG: The thing which you are talking and about whom you are talking.

PC: It has been revealed through Wikileaks, I have not written it.

NG: He had not spoken like that in Wikileaks, it has been misinterpreted.

PC: Then what has been said about Manmohan Singh is also untrue.

NG: See I am telling you what I know about what our leaders said about him.

PC: So you are saying what was said about Manmohan Singh is true, the other thing is false?

NG: There is some misinterpretation when an Indian talks in English.

PC: Do you still believe in Hindutva or not?

NG: See, Hindutva is not a political agenda. Hindutva is our belief and inspiration. It should not be that our win is Hindutva’s win and our loss it Hindutva’s loss. That is why I am telling that on this issue one should be above politics, it should not be associated with politics.

PC: But Uma Bharti’s coming back into the party sends a message, she also wears saffron, represents your ideology, she was forefront of the Ram Mandir movement.

NG: I have spoken in Lucknow the issue for which we struggled and worked, regarding the birthplace of Prabhu Ram Chandra, after the High Court’s decision regarding the issue, it has became clear that that is the birthplace of Prabhu Ram Chandra. Certainly, we are contended and happy about it. We feel that a grand temple should be built there with the co operation of people from all religions. But constructing a Ram Mandir is not our political agenda. Hence, it is not true to say that we will fight elections on issue of Ram. If we win, then Ram wins; we lose, Ram loses. We don’t want to make this a political subject. Prabhu Ram Chandra Desh ke asmita ke prateek hain, sanskruti aur virasat ke prateek hain. It is our feeling that a temple of Prabhu Ram Chandra be constructed, with everybody’s cooperation.

PC: You don’t find Hindutva to be your political agenda, because Hindutva is your way of life, ideology, conviction. That is why you don’t want to link it to politics.

NG: Hundred per cent.

PC: But even in Lucknow you said, ‘Mandir wahi banayenge

NG: One time in the country, there should be debate in the English media about what is Hindutva. The right meaning of Hindutva must be understood. Under the guise of secularism, terrorism is given legitimacy, Osama bin Laden addressed as Osamaji, nobody speaks on this issue. Geelani comes to Delhi, Arundhati Roy and Geelani both speak against India, the government takes no action against them. And beat up ‘sadhu sanyasi’ wearing saffron clothes, harass women and insult the Hindu sadhus and priests present. Is it secularism, will terrorism be justified? Afzal Guru is not hanged. Why? Please tell me when we are talking about these issues again and again, these are issues concerning nationalism.

PC: If you go back to 1991-92, a lot of people, middle class supported the Ram Mandir movement. Then the whole nation was secular. There might be a communication gap arising out of your current strategy, dealing, thinking that is why the same people are against you now.

NG: Prabhuji, you have asked a good question. What is the dictionary meaning of the word secular? Dictionary meaning is ‘Sarva Dharma Samabhava ya panth nirpekshatata’. Secularism means ‘panth nirpekshatata’. The king should be secular. The meaning is that the military, media should be secular. An individual cannot ever be ‘dharm nirpeksha’, instead is ‘panth nirpekshata’. The former term is causing confusion.

PC: The king of language that is used in politics today does not seem to be appropriate. Digvijay Singh said your party has become one of dancing people’s. Though there can be a discussion whether or not there was a need for dancing there, but even people like me think that there was no need for dancing there. If you are fighting corruption, then it should not happen, but this can be one way of thinking. The other issue is the kind of language that is being used. What do you think about the language in politics today?

NG: See, Digvijay Singhji is the general secretary of the Congress party, his health is not right. If he says something, then keeping this fact in mind, he should be forgiven, should not be taken seriously. Even his party does not take him seriously. He talks many times, and then the party says that it does not agree with his view. He has lost his balance, and so says such things. He should be forgiven with a large heart, I don’t want to take cognisance of his comments. A leader whose cognisance is not taken even by his party, and many times the Congress has done a U-turn on his comments.

PC: Ramdev was attacked, people beaten up, there is a talk about difference between government and party, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. But Manmohan Singhji showed his power, and displayed what can be done when they use it.

NG: They have shown power in a very good manner. Unarmed people were beaten; women were beaten, their clothes were torn, broke hands and legs of old people, sadhus and saints were beaten up, even then they did not give the slogan of Manmohan Singh murdabaad. In a bad manner, the modesty of women were outraged, Manmohan Singhji did a valiant job. A proposal to congratulate him should be passed. See, let me tell you. Is it a crime in this country to speak against corruption? Is it a crime to demand to bring back black money, will the people talking about his be beaten up in such a brutal manner with lathis? If this government is serious about bringing back black money, it is in the same way how Pakistan is serious in curbing terrorism. That is their behaviour. Nobody believes them. 117 out of 140 nations have ratified the law including USA, Germany, Peru, Phillipines, they brought back black money. But the incumbent government is not even ready to announce names.

PC: They say what did your government do in its six year rule.

NG: The UN resolution happened recently. Before that, Switzerland was not willing. Their government agreed during the time of their rule. First Germany did, followed by USA, then even small countries like Peru and Phillipines. 117 nations did it. I want to ask the Congress party why are you hesitant to announce the names of people who have black money. The reason is that if the names are announced, the faces of Congress party leaders will be blackened. That is why they are not announcing the names.

PC: But you never fought for this issue like you did when you demanding JPC for 2G scam. You never organised dharnas, andolans or protests on this issue.

NG: See, one month parliament was stalled when we demanded JPC.

PC: But what you did was for 2G issue, what about the issue of black money.

NG: We have raised the issue of black money. Advaniji was the first one who raised the issue of black money before elections. The issue was 2G spectrum was raised by Arun Jaitleyji for the first time in the Rajya Sabha. I held a press conference and raised questions about corruption in the Commonwealth Games, took out many issues.

PC: One day a statement was given in the Rajya Sabha. Did it become your issue, and what did you do after that? The Supreme Court did whatever it did.

NG: The Supreme Court did whatever it did after we raised the issue. Who did andolans, morchas, burnt effigies symbolising corruption all over the country.

PC: If you raised these issues, then why public meeting of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev on these issues are throught to be more credible, not yours. This indicates people have more belief in them than you.

NG: Because of repeated protests by us, non political members and thinkers from society felt joining the fight against these problems. This means the Baharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has exposed corruption, Advaniji raised the issue of black money; we raised the issue of 2G spectrum. Then Anna Hazareji and Baba Ramdevji took the issue ahead.

PC: Hence, will you come on one stage and assume that they are part of your leadership, and support Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev openly.

NG: We don’t think politically on these issues, bringing back black money is in the interest of the country, cleansing the country of corruption is in interest of the country. Whoever, raises a voice, does andolan on these issues, we will openly support them. We are not bothered about what will happen to our political career or elections. We are worried what will happen to this country and hence we will fully support them.

PC: What is the ideology of Bharatiya Janta Party?

NG: This is a good question, nationalism is our stand, good governance and development is our mission. We follow the thought of integral humanism given by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, which says all those who are socially, economically, education-wise, people who are dalits, oppressed and exploited should be considered as god. And we should work continuously to uplift them.

PC: You have also written poems on this issue in your soon-to-be released book.

NG: I came into politics....I think politics is an instrument of socioeconomic reform. Socioeconomic transformation is our mission. I have come into politics for this cause, I don’t want to fight any elections nor want a Rajya Sabha berth. If you say that I have no guts, then I will definitely stand for Lok Sabha elections. But my ambitions are not to become a minister, chief minister or the prime minister.

PC: Please tell me about the verses, songs you have composed.

NG: Ekta, samanata swatantrata rahe, desh mein charitra ki mahanta rahe. We come from different castes, but are one blood, many languages but are one, many villages but are one, many religions but we are one nation. On this feeling we have written a beautiful song, which party workers like and one can see then humming those songs. Secondly, there is a song which I always tell party workers about, Manasa satatam swarniam, vachasa satatam vadaniam, lok hitam mama karniam. Politics means social service, development and nationalism. I myself work among farmers on many issues, and for Antodaya we have two fulltime workers. We don’t have to change administration but society in this country. Politics is a tool for social transformation through good governance and we will change this country for the better.

PC: What is the biggest threat to the country today?

NG: The biggest threat to the country is corruption. Our country has an annual budget of around Rs 10 lakh-crore. What will be our fate if scandals to the tune of Rs 5–6 lakh-crores happen?

PC: Who would you blame for this? Institution, individual or the system?

NG: Wrong economic policies and bad and corrupt governance of the Congress party are responsible for this. After 1947 till today, except for five to seven years, the Congress party has been ruling the country.

PC: Would you blame an individual then?

NG: Hundred per cent. The Congress party is the birthplace of corruption. It is responsible for corruption. If Manmohan Singhji wanted and would have stopped people, 2G spectrum scam wouldn’t have happened. Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had written a letter pleading that Suresh Kalmadi should not be made the chief of the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games, then why Soniaji and Manmohan Singhji made him president? Isro–Devas, a scandal of crores of rupees, happened under the watch of the prime minister. How come files pertaining to the Adarsh Society went missing from Jairam Ramesh’s department? The Adash society files went missing from the departments of Maharashtra government, CDs went missing. Hence, it means the Congress is covering up corruption.

PC: You spoke of having a mindset like Arjun’s. What is your aim now?

NG: I want to remove the Congres-led UPA government, bring NDA government to power, and free this nation from the ills of fear, hunger, terror and corruption. Make India contented, rich and accomplished nation, free of oppression.

PC: Do you have credible leadership for achieving this goal?

NG: Yes, we will do it, we have the strength and we can change the future of this country.

PC: How can this happen when you are scared of people like Varun Gandhi?

NG: Varun Gandhi is a good, potential leader. We have fixed his role, he was working in Assam. He will definitely get support and encouragement in Uttar Pradesh.

PC: So you will project the third generation in 2014?

NG: Hundred per cent. This is the need. Young people will be encouraged, young leaders will be given chances. We will use our full capability and change the future of this country.

PC: What will be their qualification, will they be good English speakers or good karyakartas?

NG: Political qualities comprise many skills. It is my work to see that individuals who have capability and quality are given a chance.

PC: We will see what you will do. Still have two years to go.

NG: I have already taken back Uma Bharti. She has been given a chance.

Thank you from coming to our studio

NG: Thank You Prabhuji!

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