Monday, April 30, 2012

Power & Politics/ The Sunday Standard/April 29, 2012



SACHIN BUT ONE OF THE HUNDRED WAYS TO PLAY UPPER HOUSE POLITICS

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is only 39 years old. He has many firsts to his credit. On Google, he is listed over 50 million times. He is the only player who has scored 100 centuries in first class cricket, including in 20:20 and 50:50 matches. He doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to retire, since cricket brings him more money in one match or a single product endorsement than his new role as Member of Parliament for a six-year term. With all the glitter and glamour in his pocket, does Tendulkar need a favour from the government for a seat among those who are being questioned day in and day out? Sachin is the ozone among the 121 persons who have been nominated to the Rajya Sabha since 1952. But he is the first sportsperson to be honoured such, after a mere half-hour tea meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Maharashtra politicians and corporate leaders have been promoting Sachin’s name for the Bharat Ratna. Finally he has landed in the House of Elders.Since Sachin doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to retire from cricket, questions are being raised about his future intentions. Last year, he spent over 225 days playing in India and abroad. It is during the lucrative cricket season that Parliament sessions take place. However, Sachin watchers feel that he has latent political ambitions. He may continue to play the game, only to take the plunge into politics two years from now, when both the Maharashtra Assembly elections and the Lok Sabha polls are due. A nominated Rajya Sabha MP has a few privileges which an elected member doesn’t: no declaration of assets is necessary. Moreover, he or she is free to join any political party within six months after being sworn in. Will Sachin?Since the Congress party’s downward slide in Maharashtra is apparent, it needs new, young faces to revive its fortunes. The party is particularly concerned about the inroads that the NCP has made in its vote banks in Maharashtra. Though the cricket superstar is close to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, ideologically he is closer to the Congress and its leaders. It is also not a coincidence that all three newly nominated MPs are from Maharashtra. However, the other two—Rekha, an ageing Bollywood siren, and Anu Aga, a successful entrepreneur from Pune—symbolise mere tokenism. However, it is clear from the current round of nominations that the Congress is determined to use national icons—retired or yet to retire—to send the clear message that it prefers merit over politics when it comes to distributing political dole.

However, there are many who feel that the latest RS nominations were made in such a tearing hurry to stall pressure from UPA’s allies. The whole Sachin exercise was kept top secret. It was discussed only between three luminaries: Sonia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram. Normally, it takes a couple of weeks for the CBI, the income tax department and local police to clear names for Rajya Sabha nominations. It is mandatory for the government to get a clean chit from all these agencies before issuing the notification. Unless it was done secretly by the Prime Minister’s Office, nobody had any inkling about the impending nominations to fill the seats that had fallen vacant. Kapila Vatsyayan retired only last month. According to UPA sources, allies like the DMK, TMC and some chief ministers, as well as powerful Congress leaders were pushing their own candidates for nomination. Once the pressure started to mount, Sonia decided to play her trump card of choosing persons who wouldn’t invite criticism.

Normally, national icons are inducted into the Upper House for their contributions in their own fields, but only when they are about to start a new vocation, or if their presence would help the government to promote certain sectors or strategic relations with other countries. For example, famous film icon Prithvi Raj Kapoor was the first film star to be nominated by Jawaharlal Nehru soon after the Rajya Sabha was created. Kapoor remained an MP until 1960. He was useful in promoting Indo-Russian relations. Indira Gandhi chose Nargis Dutt who was suffering from cancer. Indira nominated her soon after coming to power in 1980 and Nargis died in 1981. So far, only 10 Bollywood actors have been nominated, of which only four have been women. However, there was a method in the madness.

An excessive indulgence for film stars and sports stars reflects the weakening hold of the demoralised and defamed political class, which wants to shore up its dwindling electoral fortunes. Perhaps they have forgotten, such stars shine only in their respective areas and have been failures when asked to seek a mandate on their behalf. Will Sachin and others convert their national acceptability into future personal liability? Only they can decide.

prabhuchawla@newindianexpress.com
Follow me on Twitter @PrabhuChawla

Teekhi Baat with Nitin Gadkari/April 28,2012/IBN7

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INTERVIEW WITH BJP national president Nitin Gadkari for Teekhi Baat on IBN7. Gadkari spoke on a range of issues like Jharkhand Rajya Sabha elections fiasco, the issue of S.S Ahluwalia being sidelined, PM candidate in LS elections 2014, his re elections as president and his relations with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.


PC: How much weight did you lose?

NG: (laughs)

PC: (laughs) what was your target and how much did you lose

NG: Too much, I have lost 27 kilos.

PC: What is the target, 40?

NG: upto 40

PC: Correspondingly, you political weight should increase.

NG: Political weight depends on you

PC: laughs I am not on politics, political weight increases or decreases depending upon winning or losing. In the past five six months, what has come in the newspapers, like it is said in Mumbai, ‘Munni badnaam hui,’ likewise Gadkari badnaam hue Sanchetti ke liye, Mishra ke liye, what kind of politics is happening in your party.

NG: Yeh to dilli ki rajneeti hain sir. I will ask you’re a different question, what wrong work did I do, tell me even one with evidence? You will become lawyers, register FIR and announce decision, this is wrong. See, the first thing is that when you are talking of Jharkhand,

PC: Mishra

NG: Yes, we had 18 votes, out of whom one we acted against, 17 remained, to get elected one needs 27 votes. Last time, we had lost both seats. For candidates had come, out of which I asked everybody, who can get 10 votes we will support him and he will be with us in Rajya Sabha. Four candidates had approached me, from which Anshuman Mishra said he had get support 6-7, even then we had not thought that we will support him, his name was in the reckoning though. But the question is let me ask you a reverse question,

PC: You two BJP MLA’s signed on his nomination form, your party is very disciplined, these days BJP people believe in discipline how much you know, why did the duo sign?

NG: Leave whether he signed or not, did the right thing or not. What is wrong in it, is there any FIR against him.

PC: That is your party’s decision

NG: Do you have any evidence against him.

PC: Then why did you make him withdraw

NG: Please see, the first thing is that,

PC: No FIR, no criminal record, nice young person, political connections everything is there,

NG: The first thing is that Delhi’s politics is not run on truth and ground reality, but on perception. I want to say only one thing, before speaking about anybody; one should seek the truth in the issue.

PC: I agree with you but..

NG: What about Ajay Sanchetti,

PC: He is a businessman, he has got mining contracts in Chattisgarh, he was favoured, this all has been briefed by people of your party, we don’t dream up things

NG: Please see, the first thing is that, let our party people brief or somebody else, but you will print the truth, isn’t it? Prabhuji, nobody in the world can say that I took a single pie from anybody and gave it to anybody else.

PC: But when there was no FIR against Mishra, why did you make him withdraw.

NG: The first thing is that, when there is a controversy in the party without any reason, then I did not make him withdraw, he himself withdrew it

PC: But the statement came from the BJP, it came from your office

NG: Please see, he withdrew it, I don’t want to be part of any controversy. Secondly, about Ajay Sanchetti, I know that family, their family has been associated with our RSS, his grand father was sanghchalak, his uncle was three time MLA of Jana Sangh, his uncle’s brother is incumbent MLA, is a part of our family. The party has given ticket to so many businessmen and traders. Mamtaji,

PC: Journalists also

NG: We also gave to joiurnalists, Laloo Prasadjee has given to businessmen, Congress has given to businessmen. He was active in Vidhyarthi Parishad in Maharashtra, has potential and stood for with conviction, what is wrong against him, then what is the reason for tendering an apology. To make resourceful people join the party to increase its scope and base is my work and good and resourceful person has joined the party, we will benefit from it in Maharashtra and the country.

PC: How much resources Sanchetti and others can collect for the party

NG: The first thing is that Sanchetti has not even collected a rupee till now. A person can be resourcefull through knowledge, business, experience of infrastructure, expert on economy, creativity in work,

PC: It is seeming from the past some years, be it BJP, Congress, give tickets to big businessmen having Rs. 200, Rs. 400 crores, as it seen from their declarations.

NG: Prabhuji, you are understanding it wrong, he is no crore-pati and he has not got ticket as a crorepati. I am telling you again and again,

PC: I am not, your party men are saying

NG: I have no concern with why my party people are saying, I have already spoken about people giving ‘off the record’ briefings in the party, I have told it is wrong. If there is anyone, tell me by name

PC: Am asking you about a trend, that big businessmen are given entry through the backdoor, be it Congress,BJP or anybody else. It seems that the party workers and people who have been working for the past since many years, they have been ignored.

NG: First thing I want to tell you is that Ajay Sanchetti is a party worker for the past 20 years, earlier he was a position holder in Vidyarthi Parishad and along with that he has been associated with BJP throughout our trials and troubles and a staunch party worker, and through god’s grace has a big business house, this does not mean that can become a ground for his disqualification.

PC: No talking about Sanchetti, but you also said that you will not give RS ticket to Bal Apte, Sham Jaju said openly that he was not offered a RS ticket, he is also a party workers.

NG: Firstly, it would be injustice to Bal Apteji to say this about him, he is a very selfless party worker, he himself hold me that he would not want to contest next elections, he himself withdrew, didn’t demand ticket, In the party, earlier too, from Viren Shah and many other businessmen.

PC: What is the policy, I had heard that normally, no person can get from than two terms in the Rajya Sabha

NG: That is not the case, we have seen the ability of the leadership and taken decisions as exceptions. Now Venkaiah Naidu has been given third term,

PC: There are three people to whom you have given three people, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Jaitely saab and Naidu also, but not SS Ahluwalia, you did not give him, he talks, raises issue well, you later later due to force you gave him, what policy do you have, is there any?

NG: See, he was asked will he contest in Jharkhand, he said I do not want to contest from Jharkhand, I cannot contest from there. We had offered him the first ticket.

PC: If Dharamendra Pradhan can, why not Ahluwalia

NG: Please see, from where to give what where is the decision of the party internal election committee.

PC: But there is no policy, you will give somebody else from Madhya Pradesh, somebody from Madhya Pradesh in Bihar, if you have to give a ticket to somebody, you find a way for him.

NG: See, Najma worked for so many years in Rajya Sabha, she contributed to the party, is a good parliamentarian, hence she was given ticket again from Madhya Pradesh. Please tell me Ramkrishanji served the party for 22 years,

PC: Tell me one thing, between Najma Heptullah and S.S Ahluwalia, both are in minority, on merit, who deserved more.

NG: Please see,

PC: A person who is committed to the ideology of the party, who had been with the party through thick and thin and who had shown

NG: Please see, the first thing, the principle of your question of wrong, who is loyal or not is not the criteria for giving a ticket. A ticket, everybody should get, minority, majority.

PC: Among both minorities

NG: Now we gave all of them. Now see, Sidhu’s wife got elected as MLA this time. Ticket, is given after thinking all things, and sometimes there are five candidates and all are good.

PC: Now a quota has been formed ,this candidate of this person, this candidate of that person. Like Sanchetti Sahab is in Gadkari’s account, Heptullah is in Adavni account, Dharamendra Pradhan in some other account.

NG: This is the problem of you, the Delhi media. You credibility is getting eroded. Maharashtra Parliamentary board elected Sanchetti and got his name to Delhi. Not because I said.

PC: I am saying because it was printed in by the media

NG: There is going to be change in the ministers, even this was published in the media today. Leave our thing, but do think something so that your media’s credibility is strong.

PC: You did not reply to me question, who is better among the two, Heptullah or Ahluwalia. Ahluwalia was found better later, not earlier.

NG: Both are good, I have told you that I have Ahluwaliaji, a ticket from Jharkhand earlier; he was given the first opportunity to contest. But he said that he cannot fight form Jharkhand.

PC: But you had a safe seat for Najma

NG: Please see, the first thing is that if we would have given to Ahluwaliaji, then you would have said, why you did not give to Najmaji. Hence, a person who wants to ask can ask anything.

PC: But tell me you are troubled these days, moving across many places, meeting so many people, a national president who goes everywhere, now the talk of second term has started.

NG: First thing, I am not troubled,

PC: Am man gets tired, does work and even then gets abused,

NG: Let me tell you one thing, a person who worries about the future are in tension. A person who does not worry about the future or the media, I have come to Delhi, I have not kept PR with any media person or any other leader by going to him.

PC: You meet only partymen

NG: Yes, I have done one work, I am a staunch worker of this party. I have to fulfil the responsibility given to me. Whatever the best I can deliver for the party, I will keep on trying. Sometimes I get success, sometimes no. Now you tell me, we won in Bihar, tell me we repeated our government in Punjab, in Uttarakhand we won around the same number of seats, the Goa Congress government went and our government came to power, we won all three municipal corporations in Delhi, in Uttar Pradesh we did not get as much success as we expected to get. Compare this to Congress, it lost in Punjab, Congress is on margin,equal in Uttarakhand, Congress completely lost in Uttar Pradesh, from 82 vidhan sabha in 27,

PC: They went from 22 to 27

NG: Before this, Congress was leading in 82 Lok Sabha seats in the Vidhan Sabha segment, now it has come down to 27. In Goa congress administration went, in Delhi they divided Municipal Corporation into three and were expecting that they will win at least one,

PC: You are national president, if there is any award for garnering mileage, moving around the country, you will get. You moved everywhere, but on the issue of second term, whether the president should get a second term or not, what do you think, should one get or not

NG: Media mai baap like you in the media will decide.

PC: There was RSS meeting , you were also there, MP

NG: Let me tell you one thing, with Sangh every year, there is one samanvay baithak charcha, in which a thought is given to work and other questions. This happens every year, this has not happened in the first year. Second thing, there was no discussion about my regime with the Sangh nor was there any issue in the meeting. I have not taken this issue, met the media or any leader. Let me tell you one thing, I will do the work that the party gives me. If my tenure is not extended, I am the happiest man, I have not gone and asked, I have no hurt. I have told you earlier, whatever role the party gives me, I will continue to do that for the coming 25 years. I am not working with the intention of getting some power position, I am here to my house, family

PC: What you mean to say that there was no discussion on that topic in the meeting, whether a second term should be there or no.

NG:I feel, you tell me, leave our thing, but people who write in media, is printed, talk on television, leave us think about your credibility. If you get some record, that something has been done wrong, then write about it. From own estimate to write what one wants

PC: You say media is flying kites

NG: Please see, whether I am getting a second term or not, is a question of our senior leaders of the party, this our leaders if they find appropriate, will do or not. I want to say one thing, that I have not gone to anybody and told anybody, that give me a second term, and neither I am requesting for this. On the contrary I have told you earlier that, I will do whatever work that the party gives me,

PC: The real challenge has started for you now Mr. President, like you are winning small battles, but the war is about the come, then It will be known whether you win or not. The biggest thing is that in the Presidential elections, what is the role of the BJP going to be, because according to media, national parties are seeming irrelevant at the moment, that you both have nothing in your hands, other will be the decision makers. Have you given a thought to this

NG: I have thought a lot, and spoken to many people, and I believe that the President of India, a person who increases the respect of the country, a good person, who can give direction to the country’s development, people and take a bow after seeing him, whether he is political or not, a person looking at whom India feels proud, such a person should be there.

PC: Do you see any such person who is acceptable, a person like Atalji

NG: Please see, I want to tell one thing, why should I open all cards in front of you. Aaage aage dekho, hota hain kya.

PC: That means you have something in your armour

NG: 100 per cent, why should we open. See, thing first thing is that we are the first principal opposition, as NDA and Congress. Between the two the situation is that we have 31 per cent, they have 36 per cent, it means barring us 48 per cent are outside.

PC: They will decide

NG: Then naturally how will Congress take these 48 per cent of people with them or we go with them or they come with us, we will make a policy for that.

PC: If that 48 per cent, get a candidate before you, will you think about it or not

NG: Please see, we are deciding, we have no request that somebody should be from our party only. This country’s democracy should be strong, the nationals respect will increase,

PC: I am asking that BJP will not insist that it should be their candidate

NG: Certainly. We will not insist on behalf of the BJP that the candidate should be ours, we only want a good person who increases the respect of the country, such a person.

PC: If Mulayam Singh gets some candidate, or Mamta, or Naveen Patnaik, then you can think on it,

NG: Till now, nobody has come, if anybody comes then will think over it.

PC: Nobody is approaching you now

NG: We have not approached them, they have not approached us

PC: Now you are a national party, your people also keeping talking with the government and there was a talk that you get together and the Vice President is of BJP and president of Congress party.

NG: Till now, nobody has given such a proposal, so to talk on the same.

PC: Is there any possibility

NG: What do I know that can be told by Congress party leaders?

PC: If the Congress offers

NG: What should I answer on if or when, if they offer then I will give an answer. Till now they have not given an offer.

PC: You will get their bills passed

NG: Please see, there bills in nation’s interest like the finance bills, why should they be stopped.

PC: Why have you stalled

NG: They have been stalled due to some differences, if we agree on it then they go through, the issues in country’s interest should be agreed upon. In country’s interest, be it power sector, industries, agriculture,

PC: If your Vice President is elected, then in one way formally your co operation

NG: Please see, Congress party is ruling party, till now they have not given a proposal saying that President will be their candidate and Vice President would be ours.

PC: Sharad Pawar said that it should be a non political person

NG: Sharad Pawar made it clear

PC: Whenever he speaks he speaks with great thought and understanding

NG: He said the right thing,

PC: You support him

NG: He said it in the right spirit, please don’t take everything politically, he said that a person who increase the respect of the country should be made, whether he be political or non political. And even I am saying the same thing. I agree with what he said, see what is the principle of our party, country first, after that party, then me. A person who increases the respect of our country, there are some people who attain the post and increase their importance, and there are some people who attain the post, and the post increases in importance.

PC: The name of Kalam saab is cropping up again and again, who was your candidate

NG: I don’t know whether Kalam sahab wants to contest or not.

PC: You have not contacted him as yet

NG: Till now, we haven’t

PC: Now the biggest issues are inflation, unemployment, BJP is not opposing so much on these issues, whether in parliament or outside parliament,

NG: Tell me, in a fight, the military on the opposite side, lays arms down then will one hit them. The government has gone down on its knees, the situation is such. Please see, inflation has skyrocketed, dollar is gaining strength continuously in comparison to rupee, our GDP growth, whether it will be 5.5 per cent, I don’t know, it has come down so much. Steel industry facing losses, aviation industry is in doldrums, coal is not available, power industry is in bad state, farmers are committing suicide, fertilizers are being black marketed, road infrastructure works speed has slowed down and have stalled. Tell me the number of unemployed is increasing,

PC:You are not raising these issues, there are so many issues in your party which crop up

NG: It is not a question of we raising t

PC: You recently spoke on Modi

NG: The first thing is that, people are feeling that wrong economic policies and bad and corrupt governance of the Congress party is the basic reason. I am doing survey, earlier we had lost in cities, now in all cities

PC: You have won

NG: against the congress

PC: You won municipal corporation elections. But there are issues that you said about Modi in a tv channel recently.

NG: I said nothing. You are doing the work of instigating fights. Narendra Modi is a good leader of the party, senior leader, now in the party we can talk to him anytime and solve all the things, there is no problem in that.

PC: There will be talks

NG: Will be, will be,

PC: The dialogue will start

NG: Please see, my dialogue stalled with him. He is good leader and a role model chief minister and done good development work, and I feel, there is no problem, we are all of one ideology.

PC: Your and his tenure is coming to end at the same time, elections will happen.

NG: The BJP will be a grand success in Gujarat under his leadership, this is my confidence.

PC: Not about him, am speaking generally, because in 2013, preparations will begin in 2013 for 2014. You had given a statement in Teekhi Baat, a person who wins Lok Sabha elections, will become Prime Minister.

NG: It is good you gave me time, I will tell you what I had said. I had said that all the people who are aiming for the Prime Minister’s post, in my knowledge, that all of them are going to fight Lok Sabha elections,

PC: You know they want to become Prime Minister

NG: Yes, the five seven people have said that we are ready, that I had told you, secondly, that is there, different meanings are taken, please see,

PC: What you had said

NG: First of all let me tell you, all the people in contention for the Prime Minister’s post, whose names are in the public domain, party, people, all those people have told me that they will contest Lok Sabha elections. And I had said that among those we will think over who should be

PC: If they don’t fight there will be no thought

NG: They will contest, there is no question of not contesting. Already they have spoken to me, from where they will fight.

PC: You have readied the constituency of the people who are the potential Prime Ministerial candidate.

NG: Are thinking form where to contest.

PC: Will you announce earlier or later

NG: That we will do on appropriate time. I will decide what the appropriate time is

PC: Before the election or after the election

NG: That will decide

PC: Party will decide,

NG: The first thing is that I am the president, that is why after consulting everybody in the party, will be decided.

PC: Straight question : All the potential Prime Minister candidates of the BJP, their constituencies are in discussion and have almost been decided.

NG: I understand it as all the people who are potential Prime Minister candidates from our party, all of them are going to fight Lok Sabha elections.

PC: And discussions have happened on those constituencies

NG: Individual discussions keep on happening, on the issue of planning.

PC: You will also be one of them, I presume this

NG: No I will not be there

PC: You name is not there, is it?

NG: Please see, I will fight elections, because some of Delhi media people said that I have not been elected from the public. There is a Marathi channel, in which there was a discussion that I have not fought elections till now, then I felt if that is the case, then I will contest Lok Sabha elections, and I will not go to the Rajya Sabha.

PC: After that you will be PM canidaate

NG: No, I don’t want to become Prime Minister, I have no expectations, I want to work for the party

PC: If the party makes you the President again, then PM candidate, then you have no objection to it

NG: There is no question of me becoming Prime Minister, I am not among those candidates, I do not want to become.

PC: Thank you for coming to our studio.

NG: Thank you, Prabhuji !

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teekhi Baat with Salman Khurshid/April 21, 2012/IBN7

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INTERVIEW WITH Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid for Teekhi Baat on IBN 7. In a wide ranging interview, Khurshid answered the questions on the ‘legislative paralysis’ in the UPA, the hardening stance of the bureaucracy and leadership of the Congress party in 2014 elections.

PC: You are law minister, do you feel that the law and order situation is fine in the country

SK: Law and order is different from law

PC: Law is not fine, order is

SK: Please see, law is a very big field, and order related to law courts, judges

PC: Yes, am asking about that, some problems are happening.

SK: Please see, in a changing society, where the expectations of the people are changing, where there are conflicts, different opinions of people, you will see a reflection of it somewhere.

PC: Law is troubling the government these days, even people, both of them

SK: Law is not troubling; one has to make an attempt to understand. Be it government, common man or an organisation, when society undergoes a change, and the results of a changing society show up, somewhere there is a situation where conflicts arise.

PC: It means there is a conflict between the government and at the moment

SK: There is no conflict. Like this time the debate which is on, in court, is about the media, that what kind of curbs should be there on media. Now there are different opinions on this issue, people are submitting their opinion before the court, people are telling their opinions outside the court.

PC: It seems this has been initiated from your side, because you are irritated with the media and want curbs

SK: No, no,no,no, there is no question on having curbs on the media, but the court is worried about one thing, that whatever matters are before the court, investigations are done and after that a case is before the court, now before the court takes a decision, the media announces a decision. This is not the right thing, in any set up, this is not fair.

PC: Congress ministers and Modi, are both telling one thing, that the trial is being run by the media.

SK: No, this is not issue concerning India only, you see in America, England, Australia, where all the government has used powers of contempt to say that you don’t take decisions pertaining to things that we have to take decision on. This is a true thing. For example, if there is an allegation against us, that allegations should be proved, who will prove that, that will only be proven in the court, and before it is proven in the court you people (media) create such an environment that in the court that decision…

PC: Let me do one Teekhi Baat, you feel that media trial is going on many times these days.

SK: It is not that media trial is happening all the time,

PC: We are over stepping out limits, that is troubling you.

SK: Somewhere, it is a cause of worry. There is no doubt about that, otherwise why would the Supreme Court listen to the matter for so many days. But to say that there should be total curbs on the media, media has no right to tell anything, that will not be fair. Want can constitute a balanced set up, in this arena even the people in media have a view, other people, Judges have their views. What will be the common ground among all these opinions, and what should be there, this will take the issue ahead.

PC: The issue was law against you, public against you, now you feel the media is against you, now that three people are there to bash you up, do you feel wounded, irritated,

SK: Not at all, but I will certainly say that sometimes one feels that road is being made for what all one wants to do. Sometimes, when you want to do things there are roadblocks.

PC: Roadblocks.

SK: If they come, then some way has to be found out. Be it through discussion, or using ones one brain or understanding the emotions of the people, then change our strategy accordingly. This all has to be done.

PC: In UP you were bashed up, you will say I am being harsh

SK: We were bashed up, you have seen that when people are bashed up there, in what manner the are bashed up.

PC: That kind of bashing up you are not facing some others are these days. But I am taking about am talking about political bashing up.

SK: Please see, this word, when we had won 22 seats in the last parliamentary elections, from UP, we never heard the work that somebody was bashed up. That Mayawati was bashed up.

PC: Mayawati’s seats and yours were almost the same.

SK: Mayawati was being talked about in terms of 65 seats, but won 18.

PC: That was an assumption

SK: It was less than 50.

PC: You lost elections in UP, then you lost elections in Delhi, in Mumbai,

SK: What happened in Malegaon, Bhiwandi, Latur, we have won in all those places.

PC: If one takes 32 by elections in total, you have lost 23 of them

SK: Some where we lost somewhere we won.

PC: You have lost in many places

SK: We won by elections in Gujarat, in Karnataka,

PC: In Gujarat, since Modi has been chosen this time, you have lost 70 per cent by election.

SK: Please listen, we had not won the seat for 30 years, but won it this time.

PC: You leader of opposition lost in Delhi after 30 years, this is no parameter, where you win you say you are ‘sikander’

SK: I am not speaking of any parameter, we will win somewhere, lose somewhere. There is no such condition, environment in the country today, that one party, be it one party or any opposition party,

PC: You are a senior minister, Punjab, UP, Delhi, Mumbai,

SK: What have we lost in Punjab,

PC: In 40 years for the first time a government was repeated.

SK: I agree, if we would have won 11,000 more votes, then we would have formed the government.

PC: This is fine, but who formed the government. Now, you have 206 seats from 542 and are sitting the government. That is also a way of forming the government, the government is yours.

SK: The government is ours, because nobody else can form it. Let anybody make, who wants to form.

PC: It votes of others are counted, they are more than you

SK: That will be there all the time. The opposition gets 70 per cent and the one who is in government gets 30 per cent.

PC: People are shying away from voting you to power again. What is the reason for the same, please tell me.

SK: What is the cause of so much worry, when elections would be held, we will come again, or somebody else be there.

PC: Now you are losing elections back to back, even though you are burning the midnight oil sitting in till 12 pm giving interviews.

SK: If we would fear then we would be in hiding, not giving interviews at 12

PC: What do you feel the reason for the loss, corruption or inflation, I feel it is inflation, I may be wrong.

SK: People believe that there in an issue of inflation. But I will say the same thing again, in transforming economy and society, inflation would be zero, such a thing is not possible.

PC: But the speed of growth of inflation can be less

SK: It is somewhat increasing, now you have taught economics, then you know that in any society, which is developed, in that four to five per cent inflations is there, because if it does not increase then your development does not happen.

PC: But purchasing power should increase more than the inflation.

SK: Has the purchasing power not increased in rural areas? You see then whole world was facing economic depression, then purchasing power in our rural areas had increased.

PC: Now the planning commission says that the number of people below poverty line has increased.

SK: I am not saying, economists are saying that in your rule, the number of poor people have increased.

PC: Poor is becoming poorer and the rich are growing too rich.

SK: This nobody has said. But certainly there has been discussion, that where should the poverty line be drawn, that is being discussed, nobody has said that the number of poor are growing.

PC: Planning commission has given numbers

SK: No, no,no,no the numbers have not increased. Nowhere it has been said that the number of poor has increased. But it is certainly that

PC: The number poor has increased

SK: The population of the whole country has increased. The main question now is that is our rate of growth increasing. Are we able to reach those people where earlier we were not able to reach. Tell me if today National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is there, it is there for somebody, it is reaching somewhere. Now we are talking about food security today, that will reach somewhere.

PC: That all is being looted, Rajiv Gandhi used to say that only 85 paise out of every rupee is siphoned off. That is happening, if that was not happening, then people in UP would not have made you lose, in Delhi would not have made you lose.

SK: This is not the case, this is not the lone reason for winning and losing, there are many reasons.

PC: What?

SK: I can tell about UP

PC: Please tell about UP, you will say Rahul Gandhi is not responsible, you three ministers are responsible.

SK: No, no, no, no see with the leader, there is an army, they expect something from us that we will do something, if we are not able to do, everybody of us has to contribute something. If we have interference in some place, then we must have to have a contribution.

PC: Rahul Gandhi, your leader, your army chief, you were his general

SK: We believe that

PC: You did not perform as per Rahul’s expectations.

SK: We agree we didn’t perform as per expectations. His expectation was that we would deliver, but we couldn’t.

PC: Hence, he trusted you wrongly.

SK: It is a different thing where he trusted us wrongly or rightly. Whenever a cricket team loses…

PC: Roaming the streets, doing hard work

SK: We believe that what Rahul Gandhiji did and what we did with him, you see the last elections, what has happened in Uttar Pradesh

PC: Tell me one seedhi seedhi, teekhi, teekhi baat that why you lost in UP, in one sentence.

SK: If anybody can tell about UP in a sentence, he would be a genius. But we made a well thought out strategy for Uttar Pradesh and that strategy was not successful. The reason for the same is that the people voting in Uttar Pradesh, today, when they think about the centre, they think something different, for the state they think something different. An I think, it is sachchi baat, it is not teekhi,

PC: Sachchi

SK: If we were in a condition to say it today, that we have the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, we have Rahul Gandhi, the results would have been different.

PC: It is true

SK: But this, after he saying that I am here and will be here, you will see that I will be with you, even after that people know that his work is national. They believe that his work is of national stature. And then who face can they get, they liked among others, they liked Mulayam Singhji the most, like or felt most influential. I don’t believe that this election would have won without the face of Mulayam Singh Yadav.

PC: You mean to say that if Rahul Gandhi would have been your face then the elections results would have been different.

SK: Please see, this is what we believe.

PC: Assessment

SK: We and our common worker has the same assessment.

PC: That if Rahul Gandhi would have been projected.

SK: There was no question of projecting him. If he was ready for it, if he would have said it, but we also agree that it was not possible for him to say,

PC: You have decided a national role for him. But you feel if a face like him would be there, then you would have succeeded in winning there. You have no leader like Rahul the local level.

SK: Sure

PC: You have on national level, but there was no Rahul at the local level

SK: Without doubt

PC: Salman Khurshid, Beni Prasad Verma, Raj Babar in comparison to Rahul

SK: No question of them being in any comparison. We are not in that race

PC: Why did you lose in Delhi? You have the face of Sheila Dikshit in Delhi

SK: We have not lost the assembly in Delhi.

PC: She was leading

SK: Please listen, last time we had lost MCD, Sheilaji won assembly after that, before that she won an assembly and after that also she won an assembly. Hence, you done see Sheilaji and MCD election together at all. We could not win in MCD, even last time we did not win, but we won assembly.

PC: No, you have done work, people can see it in Delhi but you credibility is lessening, I mean to say that you are in the government, but don’t have power.

SK: Who has it

PC: Officers have power, Singh, Quraishi saab, but you don’t have anything. Quraishi say that you don’t do anything, are law minister, have been given so many recommendations of reforms, electoral reforms, but you are sitting on it, he has written letters and given speeches on this issue.

SK: No, this is not the case, he doest say anything like this

PC: He said it on Teekhi Baat with me

SK: Ten time in my presence he has said that we understand the government’s compulsions. This time Loklpal bill had taken a lot of time, otherwise we know that we would have on electoral reforms

PC: He said on TV that the government in the past ten years has not spoken for reforms, electoral reforms letters are laying.

SK: No, no, no, no see I am not ready to believe, because, in my presence, and I can show you media clips that he has said,

PC: That it is the government’s compulsion

SK: No, no, no, no he has said that we are greateful that the government and then I was not the law minister then with him

PC: No I am talking about two months ago, he said they are sitting on reforms for so many years. The government is not interest in electoral reforms.

SK: Electoral reforms the government cannot do, electoral reforms will be done by all parties together. And he also knows this thing, we have said that the Prime Minister will get all people together.

PC: You hold is lessening:

SK: Where

PC: General V.K Singh says that there is corruption

SK: No

PC: An anti government mood forms

SK: General V.K Singh is a very good chief of a very good army of the world.

PC: Honest chief

SK: He is the chief and an honest chief. He has highlighted those lacunae which are there in the system, and are on for a long time. To remove those , alone civilian authority, is not possible, till the army does not clean up its own house, and the army should clean up its own house and we want to encourage them for the same. And we will give them full co operation.

PC: Now, yesterday, your chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu, goes to America and starts speaking the language spoken there. He says that reforms cannot happen in the government, forget it till 2014. He gave a clarification later, blamed the media. Coalition compulsion, is it

SK: He did not say that. Coalition is a reality.

PC: V.K Singh, Quraishi, Kaushik Basu,

SK: Why you are talking of Quraishi saab

PC: I will speak what he has told to me on national television. Or you say, it is run on national television.

SK: Do you see only your channel on tv, not some other channel

PC: I am saying what I have been told now you are saying you have been told

SK: I will give you a tape of what he has told me

PC: The question is that such big people are exposing the government. The Babu, who reports to the political authority, he today is more credible than you.

SK: Don’t make constitutional authority a babu, they would have been babus.

PC: Bureaucracy is not a constitutional authority,

SK: Election commission is a constitutional authority

PC: Yes, that its

SK: Election commission is a constitutional authority, army has its own existence. It is true that the army is under civilian authority. But army has in identity you cannot directly interfere,

PC: I am saying that these institutions, judiciary, army chief, chief election commission

SK: What judiciary

PC: In judiciary also directives, observations pertaining to your performance keep on coming, even in CAG

SK: What not, it should happen, it is the judiciary. Judiciary should do are scrutiny.

PC: Judiciary, CAG, Army chief, CEC , all

SK: What is the worry.

PC: Because of all you are losing elections, they are exposing you.

SK: We are not losing elections because of that. They are exposing us and others too, CAG has given report on Gujarat too.

PC: On Chattisgarh too

SK: Yes

PC: But not much noise on those reports

SK: Because, you are talking about the reports pertaining to us, but not talking about those reports.

PC: Some coal scandal happened

SK: No coal scandal happened. Please see, one set up was continuing, there is a need for change in that set up. We have ourselves initiated the offer of starting the transformation process. But how much and what transformation should happen, at what speed, there can be different opinion on this.

PC: This is one issue, now the new problem that is facing you

SK: What

PC: Baba Ramdev

SK: Where is Baba Ramdev

PC: and Anna Hazare have come on one stage

SK: No, no it is a good thing,

PC: You were in divide and rule committee, you broke them now they are together, you head ache has increased.

SK: No, the head ache has not increased. The people who have presumed, that there is a need for change in our system, we on a lot of their expectations, we think they are right. But the ways to achieve them, those can be different. On that issue, there is a difference between us and them, there is no doubt about that. We think that whatever you goals, the ways to achieve them, that in the current constitutional set up, should be done in its ambit, not outside it, this is what we believe.

PC: Will Lokpal bill come this time

SK: Lokpal bill will be tabled

PC: Now there is a session of 15 days, you four Sundays are gone you are left with 19 to 29 working hours

SK: Let there be 19 or 20 hours, when we have taken support from everybody and discussed with everybody, and have talked of taking everybody together. The one main issue of Lokayukta that was being raised, that Lokayukta the states should look into, the state assemblies should look into, that we have accepted.

PC: CBI should be under Lokpal’s ambit, other things like how will the Lokayukta be selected

SK: There are some small differences on that issue, but will be sorted out, but we will bring the bill,

PC: I saw a list, 70 of your bills are pending from the past four years. Earlier people have talked about paralysis, now you have legislative paralysis. This government cannot even make laws. 70 bills are pending and not being passed.

SK: You know the parliament has worked for how many days.

PC: It is the job of the government to run the parliament, if you fail in that

SK: Yes, it cannot be run with a stick in the hand. All together have to make the parliament run but if one main opposition party decides that we do not want to let the parliament run. When parliament will not function, then how will legislation be passed.

PC: You are saying that it is the opposition’s job to ensure the parliament is run

SK: No, it is opposition and the government together who have the job of seeing that the parliament is functional. Just the government cannot make the parliament function, both have together to make it function. And in a situation where one doesn’t have two third majority, in a place where one has wafer thin majority, or in one house only. These are all problems, these all have to be considered. If you close your eyes and say that these will not be considered .

PC: One last question I want to ask you, the slogan of secularism that you give every time, that even that slogan has started failing

SK: How

PC: At one place Modi, Jaylalitha and Naveen Patnaik are getting photographed and discussing how to corner the government

SK: That is a footage

PC: No footage, there was a discussion, and a statement was issued

SK: Have their hearts met or

PC: Isn’t it a warning bell for you

SK: No

PC: Mulayam and Mamta, your allies, one is giving outside support, the other is inside. Naveen Patnaik, Jaylalaita and Modi are three different representatives, all three are against you, bureaucracy is against you,

SK: What will they do if they are not against us, they have their own constituencies their own states, there people have their own expectations. If they don’t do this then what will they do.

PC: Don’t you feel that your leadership has failed in taking your alliance together, top leadership is going weak, not growing strong, or is getting inactive.

SK: I don’t agree with this, I don’t agree with this, I think that everything is not just to show or is done if only you are ready to do it. The Prime Minister has made it clear many times, the condition we are working in, is not an easy situation, but even then we are working towards our goal.

PC: First time it so happened that the decisions of the country were announced from Kolkata or some other state. Earlier, it never used to happen. What decision union cabinet is going to take, the chief minister there announces that, that this is going to happen

SK: Earlier this would not happen because such kind of coalitions were not formed earlier

PC: Vajpayjee had headed a coalition

SK: When Vajpayjee leaded then what used to happen

PC: But state chief ministers did not announce the decision of the centre, yes, they used to blackmail but

SK: No, no, no, no, the issue is not of announcing decisions of the centre, they say that we will agree on this thing, not agree on that thing. This is because they have their own compulsions. Even then they used to say, today too they are saying. But if the media is more widespread today, media is affecting our lives more today, then you don’t say that people who used to do something (dissent) then are doing more of it now, earlier they used to do less. But I agree that the role of media is increasing in our democracy and because of that the things which were not revealed earlier to a great extent, are being revealed now

PC: Because of coalition compulsions, the government is seeming weak

SK: No, no it is not weak.

PC: Is ineffective, or cannot full work.

SK: It is neither ineffective nor weak, government and the way the coalition is, the government has contributed to it. If the government is elected with full majority, then the way of working of such a government, and the way its talks about in various situations is different, which is different in a coalition.

PC: You would have run the government in a better manner had you been alone

SK: No, would have run a different government then. The coalition government is a different one. There would be some difference between the two.

PC: The Prime Minister said there are coalition compulsions, because of which many decisions cannot be taken. Don’t you agree with the Prime Minister?

SK: No, no,no,no I have said initially that when the Prime Minister has said, now how can you go ahead of what he said. Prime Minister said that the face and formation of a coalition is different, and the one of majority government is different. Now to put if’s and but’s to it, saying good or bad, side ways and upside down will not benefit. Everybody knows, it is a reality, that coalition government is different, majority government is different.

PC: Will you win 2014 elections,

SK: We will win

PC: Because you have exposed Rahul Gandhi more in UP, he has taken more responsibility, he did not succeed. Before that he had been to Gujarat, even there he did not succeed. Do you think your trump card Rahul Gandhi is still there?

SK: Have you ever heard Rahulji’s speeches, what has he said, when he had come to Uttar Pradesh, he said, ‘I know, I know that one does not win every time, but I am not going to accept defeat..”

PC: Yes

SK: “I have come here and will change the set up here and give to the people, let it take one year, or twenty years”. With such confidence, in today’s India, let any young leader stand up and say such a thing, you will give him some credit.

PC: Yes, he said, but people did not support him

SK: Yes, he did…

PC: Do you feel that you will fight the 2014 election under his leadership and will win.

SK: I have full confidence, we will win, and why will we not win?

PC: Every party has confidence, but their leadership, will come at the forefront and declare a prime ministerial candidate, and then go ahead. The mistake that you did not UP, will you repeat that again, that we don’t have a face even this time.

SK: You will declare the Prime Ministerial candidate, there is no need for us to declare.

PC: I am saying what you said, if there would have been a Rahul like face in UP, then the results would have been different. If at the national level Rahul is the face, only then will things work

SK: Will work or not work, we will talk on that later. What I am saying is that Rahul Gandhiji

PC: You have no authority to announce him Prime Ministerial candidate

SK: No, no I have no authority to announce even one candidate. But the truth is that he will be there at the forefront

PC: Will lead you

SK: He is our general secretary. There is the Congress President, Prime Minister, other senior leaders. And Rahul Gandhiji, in the rainbow coalition of our senior leaders, in the party, he is part of it.

PC: Am asking whether the 2014 election campaign leadership will be done by Rahul Gandhi, because the Prime Minister is in the government, but political leadership is Rahul Gandhi.

SK: He is the leadership, then why is the need for asking this.

PC: We will see

SK: Of course, we will see

PC: Thank you for coming to our studio

SK: Thank you, Prabhuji!