'Reshuffle is no diversionary tactic'
Interview with Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari for Teekhi Baat on IBN7.
PC: Why are you looking serious?
MT: Sitting in front of a person, whose works you have read while growing up, you tend to be serious.
PC: May be because of cabinet reshuffle, do you also have a chance?
MT: It has been 31 years that I am serving the party and I am happy with the responsibility it gave me.
PC: What is the philosophy behind the reshuffle? Is it because image of the Congress and the government is taking a hit? The talk of transformation had been on for many days, but when allegations were levelled need for reshuffle was felt.
MT: The change in the cabinet is within the purview of the Prime Minister and the Congress president. There was talk of a reshuffle for many days, which has not happened, but when it happens, only two people will have right information on that, the Prime Minister or Soniaji.
PC: Why now, why was this not done earlier. What is the logic, is it regionalism or a diversionary tactic?
MT: If you look at the past eight years, the Prime Minister and Congress president have reshuffled the council of ministers and cabinet many times. Hence, I think it would not be appropriate to link it to any specific thing, like there is a question mark on the government’s image or future challenges like elections in states, Lok Sabha elections in 18 months.
PC: You would have read history of the Congress, Mrs Gandhi, then Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao did changes 30 times in five-year tenure, and Rajiv Gandhi did 43 times. From the time Manmohan Singh became the PM, changes have been done 12-13 times. Hence, this time there has been more stability. What was the need to do conspiracy now?
MT: How can a reshuffle be a conspiracy?
PC: Because there are allegations being levelled against you? There will be a diversion, there is no Salman Khurshid, Chidambaram saab, Vadra saab, not on front page any more.
MT: The persons against whom things have been said will have to reply to them. And if you see over the past three years, the government and the Congress have answered questions on everything in detail, without running away. I don’t think it is appropriate to say that it is a conspiracy to divert attention. With 18 months left for 2014 election and state election, PM and Sonia Gandhi would have thought the reshuffle is necessary.
PC: You mean the team of 2014 is getting ready.
MT: The organisation also has to be strengthened.
PC: The organisation contests elections; you won’t win them on Manmohan Singh’s name, so you have to build organisation.
MT: I would disagree because of the way the PM has run the country in the past eight years.
PC: There were a lot of scams when Manmohan Singh was Finance Minister from 1991 to 1996. From 2008, there were more; reforms have happened too, but most scams have happened in governments where Singh was there.
MT: What is the yardstick of a scam?
PC: 2G, coal scam, CWG scam, stock market.
MT: As far as 2G is concerned, the CAG said there has been presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, the court declined to comment on it. In the second decision of the court, they said that auction cannot be...
PC: Your government started enquiry on Nitin Gadkari, but on Robert Vadra, Chidambaram said no enquiry is necessary; Moily said no enquiry is necessary; Haryana government said there is no wrongdoing. The comparison done between Vadra and Gadkari
PC: It will be done.
MT: This comparison is wrong.
PC: Why is it wrong?
MT: Vadra is a private individual doing business. Gadkari is BJP president.
PC: There should be criteria, like Gadkari said probe me, even you should have said the same.
MT: Investigation has been done, the Haryana government and its officers said that stamp duty has been paid on the lands.
PC: Opposition parties ask why corporate affairs ministry did not probe Vadra’s companies like in case of Gadkari’s companies.
MT: Veerappa Moilyji has answered that question.
PC: Moily gave answer before the investigation.
MT: Moilyji said ‘I had received complaints against DLF, we have independently done an investigation and found that there was no truth in those allegations’.
PC: Where Vadra and DLF are involved, nothing came out of the investigation. In Gadkari’s, you may get something.
MT: I don’t think these two things should be compared. We have to wait to see the results of probe against Gadkari. But I want to say one thing, the way in which Opposition parties have been levelling allegations.
PC: Civil society people are levelling allegations.
MT: Even civil society is a ‘B’ team of a BJP faction.
PC: You mean Gadkari is being targeted by internal people in the BJP?
MT: Of course.
PC: Even internal people in Congress attack Vadra.
MT: As far as the BJP is concerned, the whole sequence of events, the baseless allegations levelled by Gujarat CM, allegations are found false. After that, Gadkari expose starts, the letters he wrote for contractors and farmers. Now to divert attention, the BJP’s ‘B’ team is unleashed, because some persons want to come to the Centre from the state, but they find Gadkariji inconvenient.
PC: You mean Modi saab wants to come here?
MT: Civil society
PC: Elections are going to happen in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, whom does the mandate go to? If you lose, is it the responsibility of PM or Sonia?
MT: The reality is that, be it Lok Sabha election, it is fought on local issues.
PC: Now don’t say again on this channel that we won elections under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi.
MT: In the past five years, after any election result when I have gone to any channel, I have said that Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections are becoming increasingly local.
PC: Thank you for coming to our studio.
MT: Thank you, Prabhuji !