Everyone knows that presidential election is a number game, says Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for restoring the dignity of the Prime Minister’s Office and taking “bold decisions” like notebandi and surgical strikes, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, in an interview to Yojna Gusai on BJP-led NDA government’s third anniversary said, the so-called Oppositions’ unity and its slogan “Modi hatao Modi harao” will fail in front of people’s growing faith in the Modi government.
How will you describe the Narendra Modi government’s three years?
It is perhaps for the first time in the last 40 years that India is looking at the Prime Minister as an institution. The dignity of this institution has been restored as well as strengthened. Not just in India, the world over, Mr Modi is seen as a strong and an influential man, who has changed the way rest of the world used to see India. When the NDA came to power, corruption and scams were perhaps the biggest menace, and in these three years there is no corruption or scam. Earlier, power corridors in Delhi were infested with middlemen who used to rule and hobnob with the government and its officials. But things have changed since May 26, 2014. Everything is transparent in this government and there is no room for corruption or the corrupt.
Mr Modi has emerged as the most popular leader among the masses as all his government’s policies and schemes are centred on the poor and marginalised. Be it poor, farmers, minorities, dalits or women, they feel a part of this government and its policies because the government keeps them in mind whenever it takes any policy decision. They all feel a part of the system now.
But the Opposition does not agree with what you are saying.
The problem with the Opposition is that they still have not digested the 2014 defeat or the many other defeats they have been facing since then. It will take them more than 20 years to accept that they have been rejected and India has changed. The Opposition has no serious issue to raise against the government. They try to create issues like faulty EVMs but can’t even sustain their allegations because they have no fact to corroborate.
How do you see the coming together of Opposition parties for their joint presidential candidate?
Everyone knows that presidential election is a number game. Every party knows its strength. This Opposition party’s exercise is just a symbolic exercise.
But don’t you think that Opposition’s unity against the Modi government could create problems for the NDA, if not on presidential candidate issue but may be on others?
If the Opposition’s policy remains “Modi hatao Modi harao”, then it will never be successful. Mr Modi and his work is accepted by the people and when people have accepted something, the Opposition can do whatever it wants. Also, this “Opposition’s unity” in itself is doubtful because there are so many contradictions within the Opposition. I think instead of a gathbandhan (alliance), it will soon turn into a latthbandhan (internal squabble).
The Opposition has also criticised the Modi government for politicising issues like triple talaq and a spurt in cow vigilantism.
First of all, triple talaq is a reform issue, so there cannot be any politics over it. There is a national debate going on and there are views both in favour and against it. The issue is before the Supreme Court and we are hopeful that iss manthan se amrit hi niklega.
But some Muslim organisations have also criticised the government for interfering in a religious issue.
This country runs as per the Constitution which guarantees equality to all, including women. You cannot use religion to side with an issue when it effects the very right of a woman of this country, no matter which religion she believes.
What about cow vigilantism?
A gau rakshak can never be a criminal. Unfortunately, some criminal forces are trying to give a bad name to gau rakshaks. But our government, even the Prime Minister, has made his stand clear on the issue. If you indulge in any criminal activity in the name of gau rakhsa, you will be dealt with just like a criminal.
What about a spurt in crime- related incidents in Uttar Pradesh, even after your party formed its government after 15 years under Yogi Adityanath’s leadership?
All these years, criminals and their supporters were ruling UP. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had given them warning, which some of them failed to take seriously. But the Yogi government has shown them that it meant what it had said by promptly acting and taking actions against them.
Kashmir has been witnessing unrest, every now and then, since the Modi government came to power and your party entered into an alliance with the PDP to form the government. Is there any solution to the growing unrest in the Valley?
It is wrong to say that entire Kashmir is facing unrest. There are 23 districts, which are facing unrest, but situation will become normal soon. People of Kashmir will themselves defeat separatists and terrorists, who are being guided and supported by our neighbour.
But Pakistan has made attempts to showcase the Kashmir situation on the international platform against India...
The entire international community knows how Pakistan is running a terrorism factory, whose pollution is polluting the world peace. Pakistan has been exposed. Kashmir is ours and so are the Kashmiris.
Any major decisions of the government which you think were outstanding?
There are many, but notebandi, surgical strike and repealing of more than 1,000 obsolete laws were outstanding. I think notebandi and surgical strike were two decisions which no Prime Minister could have taken. The Opposition criticised but people supported. Only a Prime Minister whose motto is “na khaoonga na khanedoonga” could have taken the notebandi decision.
You are heading a ministry for minority affairs but both the Modi government and your party have faced criticism for being anti-minority.
The problem with the Opposition is that it sings its own song. They tried to create this perception but again the people supported Mr Modi and the BJP. You cannot fool minorities with appeasement politics. They need education, employment and empowerment and this government, including the minority affairs ministry, has initiated and implemented so many schemes for them, keeping all the three in mind.