INTERVIEW with Union urban development minister and parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath for Teekhi Baat on IBN7
PC: In the past session, you were appreciated, from the time Kamal has taken charge, the Congress party’s Kamal (lotus) has bloomed. This time, it seems there is a problem.
KN: There is no problem. It has been two days, yesterday Lok Sabha functioning till 7 pm and Rajya Sabha till almost six pm. There was a blast in Hyderabad, everybody was worried and angry too.
PC: But there was some disruption too
KN: For some time, half an hour-fifteen minutes. But the big thing is that even after the incident, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha almost ran normally.
PC: But don’t you think the disruption to some extent after the home minister’s statement. People say that Kamal is the party’s asset in parliament, Shinde is liability.
KN: In Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha yesterday, it was not Congress versus anybody, their issue was with the speaker, chairman. Because they wanted the discussion outside the ambit of rules, it was not right to hold discussions ‘by the way’.
PC: It was all on Shinde’s statement
KN: In Lok Sabha, there is a rule, after a statement has been read out, the discussion can happen after a notice is given, under a rule.
PC: In Rajya Sabha, discussion happens.
KN: There is a rule even in Rajya Sabha, once the statement is issued, clarifications and discussions can happen. BJP wanted that first they should be allowed to discuss and then he should read a statement.
PC: But such a big incident happened in the country, people lost lives.
KB: They could have said whatever they wanted to say after the statement, we never said no to a discussion. We said, let him read out the statement, then you can say what you want. What was the problem if they would have said whatever they wanted to speak, after four minutes?
PC: Some people in the opposition in party think Shinde has become a liability after the statement
KN: No, not at all, Shinde saab is not a liability.
PC: People say he is Hasmukh, smiling face, when he took charge as CM of Maharashtra, people said Deshmukh will go and smiling face will take charge. Has he become a liability.
KN: Not at all, how can full investigation happen just within 11-18 hours of the incident. Many facts have to be kept secret, and everybody asks him what information he has. Now, poor fellow, what can he tell?
PC: Congress men also say that Shinde has turned around all the good work done by Chidambaram
KN: It’s been four months since Shindeji took charge. It is very wrong to say that he has spoilt everything. It’s been just four months.
PC: He told there is Hindu terrorism, BJP and RSS run training camps, for which he apologized. Kamal Nath has to intervene to get him to apologize so that the session can run.
KN: He said he regrets if anybody has felt hurt due to his statement.
PC: But he did not apologize
KN: He said he regrets. Now you can consider it apology or anything else.
PC: What do you say
KN: He expressed regret.
PC: He did not apologise
KN: Certainly not, because he stood by what he said. He said it was not his intention to make allegation against anybody.
PC: You tell he did not apologize, but it was a compromise.
KN: It is true, compromise happened.
PC: You arrived at a compromise because you want to run the session, there is no ideological conviction.
KN: It is not an issue of ideology. This was somebody’s statement, they felt bad, then we said on, we express regret. There is no question of ideology in this.
PC: It is a deal because one month ago Shinde saab issued statement, but only one day before the session, Kamal Nath intervens and get an apology statement issued.
KN: BJP is satisfied with the statement, they said. Then what is the deal.
PC: This could have been done before, what was the need for them to stage dharna then?
KN: Everything has a time, he spoke at the right time.
PC: You had backdoor discussions with BJP
KN:I speak to everybody openly, what is backdoor in that. There is no issue which we need to keep secret.
I speak to BJP leaders, Mulayam Singhji, Mayawatiji
PC: That will happen because Kamal Nath is a parliamentary affairs minister. You are the senior most MP.
But don’t you think the whole Hindu terrorism statement was his fault.
KN: Why, he spoke on basis of some information. He did not level any allegation on BJP
PC: He said that BJP and RSS are running training camps
KN: Many cases have been registered, but Shindeji has more information on this, not me.
PC: You do not think it was a fault
KN: He expressed regret, with which BJP is satisfied. After this there is no discussion on this issue.
PC: There is discussion, quarrel on the fact that on the issue of terrorism, your government talks about Hindu terrorism, saffron terrorism. Like on the issue of evidence on Hindu terrorism, the day Shinde saab apologised, the home secretary changed his stance. Till a week back the same home secretary was saying that nine people linked to RSS and others are involved.
KN: These has happened a while ago
PC: But it raises issues for you
KN: No, these things happen and pass
PC: Kamal Nath sows a seed, somebody uproots the plant
KN: In parliamentary affairs, these things happen.
PC: If a strong anti rape bill can be made in three weeks, why isn’t a strong anti terror law made
KN: Many states are not accepting NCTC. They have doubts, but NCTC is very necessary, if we want to deal with terrorism.
PC: But you have so many agencies already, NIA, IB
KN: National Grid and NCTC connects all agencies, it is a co-ordination point.
PC: What does IB do
KN: IB does its work, then we have state intelligence agencies.
PC: But in you government there are parallel systems, like NPR and Aadhar, on both Rs. 20,000 crore each would be spent. Like in America, there is one agency, they don’t have 10 of them.
KN: That is what we are saying, but even they have many subordinate agencies. Hence, we wanted one NCTC and all other subordinate agencies, and one national grid, which will have information about every police station in the country.
PC: But you want to take over state government’s power of arrest with NCTC
KN: There are many issues when information is shared with states, it spreads. In terrorism, the biggest thing is secrecy in investigation. If information spreads, how will this happen.
PC: You do not trust chief ministers
KN: It is not about chief ministers, it goes to many policemen.
PC: Even your police men can go wrong, the NCTC people
KN: In NCTC, very selected police professionals would be employed.
PC: In reference to blasts in Hyderabad, you shared information with Andhra Pradesh government, which has Congress government, but they did not take action. This was said by the home minister.
KN: The information is of general nature, nobody tells that blast will happen on tuglaq road this street.
PC: But specific information was given
KN: No, not at all. The names of cities were given.
PC: They had given the name of the area in Hyderabad which was prone
KN: No, they said in Hyderabad and other cities such incidents may happen. But it will happen at this place, this time, such information was not given.
PC: So, according to you NCTC is the solution?
KN: NCTC will benefit. I do not think that everything would improve due to this. But this will help us strengthen our efforts in combating terrorism.
PC: But you repealed POTA due to politics
KN: Any opposition party or BJP does not say that bring this particular law into force. Let them tell which law to bring which is effective.
PC: They say bring back POTA
KN: In these times, even POTA would be mild. POTA was brought into force when terrorism had not grown to its present proportions.
PC: You think that a law even more strong than POTA is needed at the moment
KN: Many things have to be added, it is not a question of what is strong.
PC: But you have to consult with opposition on terrorism, which is one of the biggest issues facing the country.
KN: Certainly. Today, it is not just one party who has government in states, there are many parties. Hence, just discussing with one party won’t suffice.
PC: When the government can hold consultations on rape law in three weeks, on the issue of terrorism, why don’t you act in the same manner?
KN: I feel consensus is very important on this issue. If not all encompassing, but general consensus is necessary.
PC: I know that parliamentary affairs ministry does not have responsibility of home ministry, but you can make efforts.
KN: We are making efforts
PC: For bringing an anti terror law
PC: In this issue corruption issue, helicopter deal would be raised by opposition.
KN: I have given clear statement, whatever investigation necessary should be done, we accept it.
PC: You spoke about JPC
KN: We are ready for any kind of investigation; even we want investigation to happen. They may not be satisfied with investigation done by our government; hence I left it to them to tell what kind of investigation should happen.
PC: You disarmed them by saying that
KN: I said we together, because this is a issue which affects the name of the country.
PC: But even you know JPC, which are being made since 1989, Rajiv Gandhi’s times. JPC results in nothing.
KN: I did not say form JPC, I said we are ready for any kind of investigation. There should be consensus among political parties, and we are ready to do investigation on those lines.
PC: The president’s speech in which the issue of one million houses was talked, It seemed like an election manifesto. It seemed that we have done so much good work, hence vote for us.
KN: President’s speech happens in the first parliamentary session every year. He speaks about the government’s achievements to the people.
PC: But even as many achievements were cited, many villages are in darkness, while the cities are shining
KN: There were two statements, one regarding JNNURM
PC: For purchasing air conditioned buses
KN: Many Municipal Corporation and councils have benefitted from it.
PC: I visited 10 cities when JNNURM was implemented, at all places slums are visible, and roads are in the same condition, where do the thousands of crores go
KN: To improve the whole city is not our aim, the state government.
PC: May be a part it, but the money is your.
KN: Some money is from central government, in the end the state government should take benefit from it. Money is given project wise, not for the whole city.
KN: Slums are mushrooming in cities, you know it
KN: Because of rapid urbanisation, today 40 crore people live in cities. Ten years ago, only 30 crore people lived in cities.
PC: They come to cities because condition of villages, small towns is bad. Neither there is hospital, nor colleges.
KN: Economic activity is happening around cities. That is why people left gramin areas and migrated to Nagar panchayat, municipal corporation areas. In the next ten years, 60 crore people will live in cities.
PC: Because you are not developing villages
KN: We have had plans for building Infrastructure like roads, water, drains and other facilities in villages. Now six years, ago the government made a plan for cities.
PC: Congress party lost in 1996 elections because people thought that the government is for the rich. Even now it seems that the government is more worried about the stock market. You won from the rural constituency and have been winning from villages areas for long, don’t you think that in our country, Bharat and India are different. Even Rahul Gandhi said the same thing in a state.
KN: To partition cities and villages is not right. Today the aspirations and expectations of city and village youth are same. Today village youth has cell phone, internet and television. Hence, there is no difference.
PC: But there are no jobs. Unemployment has increased. Number of people below poverty line has increased.
KN: No, the number of avenues for employment that developed during UPA government’s tenure, have never happened in the history of the country.
PC: I am talking about total number of unemployed people and number of people living below poverty line over past nine years. These are your facts.
KN: No, numbers have not increased.
PC: Numbers have increased, percentage has come down. I know you don’t agree with Montek on many issues.
KN: This is not true
PC: What will you do over next two years
KN: We have aim to make one lakh houses every year in the national capital for people hailing from economically weaker section of society. I also made this statement in the Lok Sabha last year. This plan has started, not 20,00-25,000 houses have been made.
PC: It seems, when we see the last budget session and this, that the allies are leaving you. Akhilesh said that they do not have the requisite money for budget. It is a minority government, people are supporting you from outside.
KN: It was from the first day.
PC: When TMC left, it happened, it was not from first day. You had 255 seats, which did not increased, now even DMK is not happy. Do you think you are running a minority government?
KN: You do not get tensed by it, we have to get tensed by it.
PC: But you are not
KN: I am not at all tensed. Because I know the parties supporting us on issues, this is the condition n every parliamentary democracy, be it of Germany, France or Britain.
PC: But tell me, is there is likelihood of early elections.
KN: Certainly not. Why would they happen early?
PC: Because you don’t have majority, the government may fall anytime.
KN: I am saying we may not have.
PC: Because even if one withdraws support, writes letter to President
KN: There is no need for going into ifs and buts. Because today we have majority, it is clear how we have got this majority. That is why nobody is saying anything today.
PC: Which means elections will happen in May 2014, not before that
KN: Elections would happen in May 2014.
PC: If somebody withdraws it will happen
KN: If somebody does not withdraw. I have full confidence that nobody would withdraw
PC: Kamal Nath has done a deal with everybody
KN: There is no deal, everybody is in agreement with our policy and intentions.
PC: Rahulji said that his name should not be taken for the post of Prime Minister, but elections would be contested under his leadership?
KN: I want elections to be contested under his leadership. But he has to decide, it will not happen by me wishing for it.
PC: You will that the Congress may derive more benefit by contesting under his leadership
KN: Certainly, certainly, a new generation if coming forward. A new leadership is coming forward
PC: How many seats would you win, now you have 206, would you get majority.
KN: lagh bagh itni seatein ayeengi humaari
PC: If Rahulji leads
PC: If he does not, then your tally would come down
KN: Why do you say that, I say if we get 250 seats, there is no end to such discussion?
PC: You do not fear anybody, that there would be a Modi versus Rahul contest. You are not in tension, you don’t get dreams about Modi
KN: We don’t get any dreams about Modi, he would be dreaming about Rahulji.
PC: Thank you for coming to our studio.
KN: Thank you, Prabhuji !