Modi wants to be centre of every campaign’
The Congress will win the Gujarat elections, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni says on Teekhi Baat for IBN7. Excerpts:
You are smiling, even though it seems that you are very sad these days.
Because of so much of adverse publicity.
It is not a question of adverse publicity. If people want to say anything without any basis, then we have answers for those. They are not against, they are themselves getting exposed.
So you think the media is going wrong.
I believe in self-regulation. I think the media should think and self-regulate to maintain its credibility.
In recent times, Indian and foreign media have scrutinised and found fault with the government. Do you think that media has done wrong?
When news is presented by adding spice to it, then people read and see it. TRPs have become the most important thing.
Has the media become more responsible now, or are they listening to you now?
Nobody is ready to listen to me.
But you cannot shoot the messenger i.e. the media.
No, I don’t want to. I think the media is the medium to know reality, and a very important input.
RTI was one of the biggest things you gave to the nation; you and Soniaji had taken it up. But what we see now you are trying to scuttle it; no information is given under RTI...
It is wrong to say so. We are proud to say that in a big country like India, where there is so much population, a law like RTI was made. Now some people are trying to stretch the Laxman Rekha even more, now you want answer of three months in three days.
Thirty days. These days it is being said that information under RTI was asked about Soniaji, for a long time, its answer was not given. If somebody is spreading lies, it is better to give out the true reply under RTI.
Many times, you don’t process your application in the right manner, and then you are asked some questions, and must submit the application again. On that basis, if people in responsible positions are fabricating things to grab headlines and for their political benefit, now that thing would be answered by the people.
I’m talking about RTI. Many of my applications are pending. We asked names of leaders of political parties who have used private planes in the past couple of years. I was given no information.
Then why don’t you complain to the chief information commissioner?
You are information minister, so I presume that you believe in giving information, but when information is politically sensitive, then you don’t give it.
The information which is asked, I’m not talking of any specific thing, many times there are ramifications of that, from many places, inputs have to be taken, to give consolidated information, and that could take some time.
But the answer must be given.
Answer regarding every issue would be given.
Manmohan Singh’s travel information can be given, even Soniaji’s information should be given, the answer to the lies being spread is telling the truth.
Nobody would stop in giving information. Do you think it is secret if anybody goes out of the country?
You are the first minister saying this.
I am saying it is a big fault of the one who has raised this issue. The aim of the person raising the issue is different. He wants to raise some issues in the coming elections, but nobody is responding to him, he is not being paid attention to. Narendra Modi wants to become the centre of every campaign.
He wants to turn the issue into Modi verus Gandhi parivaar.
What he wants to do is his own wish. The issue of elections in Gujrat will be of development, issue will be Central schemes and how much money Gujarat was given to complete those schemes.
Your allies are not supporting your decisions, they feel that your economics is for the rich. If you have no majority in the House, you should not have right to take decisions.
Majority has to be proved on the floor of House. When the nuclear deal was underway, even then you all felt there was no majority, because the Left parties did not want it. The Prime Minister decided in the interest of the country.
Even now his mood seems the same, if the government goes, let it go, but I will do what I have thought of...
Why not? You and I know that there is paucity of cold storage facilities in the country, today there is paucity of rural connectivity, even though the government has allocated a lot of money, there is a lack of resources. Now if steps like FDI in multi brand retail have been taken, we have seen they benefited many countries, and safeguards have been kept.
I am talking politics. When Manmohan Singh decided to go for the nuclear deal in the interest of the country, he thought if the government goes, let it go. He took the risk, the people supported him, and he won again. Now you allowed FDI in, raised diesel prices, and the more stiff decisions that you are going to take ahead for economic development, you are ready to let the government go but will act on conviction. Is that right?
All these steps have come out of our election manifesto. Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh had promised the people and got a mandate. If we hesitate now, then people will think we forgot our promises for some self serving reason. It is inevitable to take these decisions, and our party is ready to give any sacrifice for this. So you are ready to sacrifice power.
That situation will not come.
There is a charge that Congress behaves like big brother, does not consult anybody, and now Mamata Banerjee has said you are anti-national.
That is her thinking; till yesterday she was not saying so. But I don’t want to comment on what she said. But UPA II has an infrastructure and mechanisms of co-ordination.
What do you feel about Gujarat?
Modi will lose, Congress will win.