'BSP can’t dictate terms to our government’"My government will be run on Congress principles and not on BSP dikats,” says Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna in an interview for Teekhi Baat on IBN7. Excerpts:
PC: I do ‘Teekhi Baat’
PC: Aur aap meethe aadmi hain
PC: Yeh kaise baat banegi
VB: All talks are sweet, it is the way you see it.
PC: In today’s date you are known as Chief Minister and MP. Vijay Bahuguna – chief minister, Member of Parliament, when will you become MLA?
VB: I have time till September 13, as per the constitutional requirement. Hence, certainly, soon I will announce my constituency and within the time limit contest elections.
PC: You will make somebody vacate his seat?
VB: Somebody will vacate the seat
PC: Somebody will do it
PC: Will somebody from your party will do it, or make somebody defect?
VB: There are many MLA’s in my party who want me to contest from their constituency. But because one MLA was vacate his seat, I want him to be for some more days, to see the budget.
PC: Achcha, see the budget
VB: The person who is sacrificing for me. From 28th the budget sessions starts, because early I could take only the vote on account, I had taken oath on March 13. By the time budget session is over, all will know from where I would be contesting.
PC: Some MLA from your party will resign.
VB: Most likely.
PC: When you were the chief ministerial candidate, then why didn’t you contest elections? Your candidates are won MLA seats, none of them was made, you were made
VB: Don’t know, what will be the condition, not only me, there are many in the Congress, which is a good thing that there are many leaders capable of becoming chief ministers, it is not that I was the only one. Hence, how many people would the Congress have made contest. Hence, it was first win the elections, then as is the tradition in the Congress party, whoever has the blessings of Soniaji, will become the chief minister.
PC: The one who was capable of becoming chief minister was kept out, and the others were made to contest.
PC: There was a fight, between whom
VB: Options were open, there were other MPs too, me and Satpal Maharaji,
PC: That means the ones who did not contest elections, they are the contender for chief minister ship, no contender from among those who won.
VB: Please see, all the MLA’s together passed a resolution that Sonia Gandhi will decide. And this has been our tradition, after that there was a lot of consultation, process, and evolving out of which my name came up, because the government was not formed only on the strength of Congress, this government has been formed with the support of some independents, some BSP support, some UKD support, hence might have got more numbers in the total picture.
PC: The qualification was to make the person who can get others
VB: The one who is accepted
PC: accepted, saam, daam, dand, bhed, can do everything
VB: Saam, daam, dand, bhed nahi chalta. What is seen as who is best suitable under the circumstances.
PC: Till a long time you could not hold a session, it means then for a long time you acceptability was not in the party, may be now it would have happened.
VB: No, I have done session.
PC: It took a long time to hold session, in swearing in, people didn’t come one time, second time, third time they came.
VB: Please see, in todays politics, in every party, this is the condition, the BJP, I am the chief minister and working, the leader of opposition has not been chosen till now by the BJP, the whole session of Vidhan Sabha is over, till today they have no leader of opposition. Hence, there are some tensions which political parties are facing. But Congress has ironed it out to a great extent.
PC: May be thinking they will make the one who contests against you, he may not win, very few people win against chief ministers. Hence you said that, you left it to Sonia Gandhiji, I know your father, I have done his interview, he also left it and Indiraji made him. Hence, it is there in your family, do you think you have benefitted because of being a Bahuguna. Your father was big as the chief minister of UP.
VB: His achievements and his deeds, I was never compare me with them, but certainly, the politics that I learnt with him, it was rooted in grass roots and a secular image of Congress, and an association that we take the people with us, meaning that there is no arrogance, as far as I am concerned, hence I am working gracefully, with humility. And now that I have been given responsibility, now it is my responsibility to get everybody together. This is not the responsibility of Delhi, that they make me get people together, hence I am making efforts,
PC: You are leader you will make everybody get together, but there one thing, in UP, after Bahugunaji, daughter and son both came in to politics, the daughter got left behind, in India this happens.
VB: No, she was Pradesh Adyaksha
PC: She became state president but could not make the party win elections.
VB: She has herself won elections.
PC: She herself won, but could not make win
VB: Somewhere there is success some where there are failures.
PC: Or daughters are not allowed to succeed
VB: But we are making efforts, form the time we have come into the Congress in the past twenty years. We never thought of our interest, always thought what is in party’s interest. Not even in dreams, though of doing any wrong with the party. Hence, this has been our tradition, our character, my and Rita’s, the party has accepted it and given responsibility, and to the best of ability we are discharging it.
PC: You became chief minister, firstly, you have to win your election
PC: Which you said you are going to announce soon. The state is so backward, but there is so much potential in the state, but nothing happens here.
VB: No, let me tell you, I will invite you, when we were with Uttar Pradesh, the annual plan of this whole region was a mere Rs. 900 crore, today it is Rs. 7500 crore and I can generate 27,000 megawatt electricity in this state using hyro power generation, which is the potential. Today, a mere 3200 watts is being generated. There is lot of opportunity for tourism, when Tiwariji was chief minister I was in state planning, could anybody would have thought that businesses would come here, today Rs. 30,000 crore has been invested there. And I am making a land bank, and I am inviting people to come and set up industries there, because even today our electricity charges are less than many states, there are no law and order issues and there a lot of human resources. Because, there is 84 per cent literacy in Uttarakhand.
PC: You are saying that there is capacity of 27,000 watts, and generation of approximately 3500 mw is happening. Don’t you think it was left behind due to political or some other reasons. Once you cross, Delhi, UP, it takes time to reach to your place.
VB: The Shatabdi route which was being laid, the transaction work is on to reduce travel time. And today seven flights are coming to Dehradun, Boeing lands, Airbus A 320 is landing, hence the connectivity has improved, and we have three air fields,
PC: But those are for high fliers, comer people use road, and one can go to Agra and 2.5 hours and it takes so much time to reach Dehradun.
VB: Some issues of ours were pending with Uttar Pradesh, some land was not being transferred on NH 58. But I have met Akhileshji, CM of Uttar Pradesh and we have had talks about the land issue. As soon as the land is transferred to NH, the travel time will reduce by two hours.
PC: Vijayji, tell me your state is a small state. Leave states like Jharkhand, were politics is such, even in your state that is the problem, that no party gets majority, is development stalled due to political instability in the state. Like you have majority of only two MLA’s,
VB: No, this time, BJP is 31 and we are 40.
PC: In 40, how much would you be dependent on BSP people.
VB: No, the people who have fought against communal forces their natural contact is with us.
PC: Your father has fought against communal forces, the question is that the coalition governments which are formed, Congress not having a majority is a full stop on you
VB: There is a pressure, and the benefit of this pressure is that you cannot totally have things your way,
PC: All MLA’s have to be made ministers
VB: Now there is a constitutional bar, cannot make more than eleven.
PC: Who are responsible, political people or bureaucracy? Somebody would be the villain.
VB: Let me tell you, the pace which we have given when we had a government, that slowed down in the past five years when BJP was in power. And first time when their candidate went as chief minster he said that there should be no hydro power projects. And the second chief minister distributed sweets when the projects were closed. And there was a issue of that there should be no hydro power projects in rivers in Uttarakhand. Our cabinet meeting was held recently.
PC: Who raised this issue
VB: There are some swamis, some NGO’s. I am not entering into any conflict, I am saying that I respect you emotions. Ganga is my mother too. But let the experts decide how my current is needed, but let the power be generated. If in any month water current is need, we will stop the plant. But when we can have hydro power and do not do it, today we have to buy electricity from other states. Today, Himachal is selling power. Hence, it must be seen will a state be able to be economically strong or not.
PC: Let me do Teekhi Baat, the so called NGO’s or swamis, have they proved to a roadblock in the development of Uttarakhand.
VB: Certainly, they do not understand the problems of the state. When they talk of environment, we respect them. But you cannot take development backward.
PC: They have become enemies of development
VB: A balance has to be maintained between development and environment. Development and environment, both are essential. Hence, the Prime Minister is looking after the Ganga Basin Authority and certainly I have confidence that no injustice will happen with Uttarakhand.
PC: Ganga has turned into a sewer
VB: Not in our area
PC: Not in your area with downstream
VB: In our area, Prabhu Chawlaji, wherever the sewerage water is going, I am myself monitoring them, and in one two months i will stop Rishikesh also.
PC: But how will you revolve the NGO’s issue.
VB: The will have to be explained, BJP leaders too have now agreed. Even Uma Bharatiji said that they are not against projects. Rajya Sabha MP’s, Tarun Vijay, all agreed, we had taken an all party meeting. Hence, we are saying that the let the flow and water current be maintained. You tell us how much water is need, if the Kumbh is coming near, we will release as much water is needed. But don’t stop me, don’t stop me from generating electricity otherwise, the state will come into difficulty.
PC: Is your bureaucracy working well?
SB: Let me tell you, the bureaucracy is very cooperative at our place. And from the time I have become chief minister, I have had no issues
PC: That means that bureaucracy created no hurdles in way of development ,your bureaucracy is working very well.
VB: From the time I have come, I don’t see it as a hurdle. Please see, bureaucracy is sharp, and if you cannot match its sharpness, then certainly they give you direction,
PC: You mean you are running the bureaucracy, earlier the chief minister was being run by them
VB: I will not talk about the past, but I am feeling that they are understanding my indications and there is full co operation and pace. In the past one month, I have met central ministers here and I have full support. And certainly you will see when our budget comes, we will give a new direction,
PC: What is your priority one, two ,three
VB: My first priority is to promote tourism. Tourism will solve the problems of the state. Uttarakahdn is very beautiful, what is the beauty of Switzerland and Canada that we do not have. Hence, I have met Subodh Kant Sahayjee, for a master plan of tourism in Uttarakhand and the money for the consultant is given by the government of India. A massive adventure sports academy will be set up in Tehri, hence we are to increase tourism.
PC: Roads are needed there, you cannot make everybody come by aeroplanes
VB: I am inviting you, see the roads are very good, our highways are very good, and for more development talks are on, we will not let paucity of funds come in way of development. And certainly in Uttarakhand, tourism is the biggest draw, secondly, is power, thirdly business. And the businesses which are coming, in the past five years, no investment has happened in the state, because the state government.
PC: Your own party will not create any problem for you
PC: There will be stability there
VB: Please see, I have not gone there are governor, I am not in the stability thing, I want that as long as I am chief minister, I will be listened to and what I want the government will do, and I have the confidence that I will get the state on the road of development.
PC: Because the way you started here, that will end when you become MLA
VB: Opening batsman has to face many bouncers. Hence, if you are saved from those, then you can play a long innings.
PC: But the googly will come now
VB: Am trained for a googly
PC: You are trained or a googly. If you have to compromise, there are BSP people, they can deceive you anytime, how much trust you have on them
VB: I know that
PC: Because in the centre they are not with you, supporting you from outside
VB: Please see, a coalition government is running at the centre. There are coalition government pressures and fine balancing needs to be done. Am taking their support, but it is not that they are running the government. They are walking as part of the government.
PC: Which means BSP does not dictate you
VB: No,no, never
PC: Neither will be able to do
VB: Will not be able to do.
PC: If it dictates henceforth
VB: If there is a good suggestion, we will surely listen to it, but if I will that it is different from the Congress policies and principles, then I will not compromise on principles to save the government.
PC: You mean to say that this is a Congress government
VB: Congress government
PC: And will run on Congress party’s principles
PC: Will not compromise on these, even if the government goes
VB: Certainly, even if the government goes.
PC: Thank you for coming to our studio
VB: Thank you Prabhuji !