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  ‘Modi never did anything for Hindus. He exploited them for political ends’

‘Modi never did anything for Hindus. He exploited them for political ends’

Published : Oct 5, 2013, 7:56 pm IST
Updated : Oct 5, 2013, 7:56 pm IST

With the withdrawal of the contentious ordinance and the bill to shield convicted legislators, has Rahul raj arrived in the Congress In the Congress, major decisions are always taken by Soniaji and Rahulji. Whenever they felt the need to take a stand in the interest of the nation and its people, they expressed their views to the government. Both Rahulji and his mother have been involved in all key policy decisions.

A file photo of Rajeev Shukla, the minister of state for parliamentary affairs
 A file photo of Rajeev Shukla, the minister of state for parliamentary affairs

With the withdrawal of the contentious ordinance and the bill to shield convicted legislators, has Rahul raj arrived in the Congress

In the Congress, major decisions are always taken by Soniaji and Rahulji. Whenever they felt the need to take a stand in the interest of the nation and its people, they expressed their views to the government. Both Rahulji and his mother have been involved in all key policy decisions. So, Rahul Gandhi is all set to be Congress’ prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls All of us want Rahulji to be the PM candidate. We want him to become the Prime Minister. This view has been expressed from time to time by all of us. But we can only ask. The final decision will be taken by Soniaji and Rahulji.

Does that mean it’s the end of the road for Manmohan Singh — that there will be no third term for him

(Pauses) As I said, the final decision on who will be Prime Minister will be taken by the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi). She will take the final decision in consultation with the Congress Parliamentary Party.

With Mr Gandhi trashing the ordinance in public, the Prime Minister’s authority has been undermined. Manmohan Singh is suffering from a credibility crisis.

I don’t think so. Rahulji, while expressing his anguish over the ordinance, never said a word against Dr Singh. He was only expressing his feelings over a law which was being resented by the people. He never spoke of Dr Singh. Also, while Dr Singh was out of the country, Rahulji sent him an email explaining his feelings. After Dr Singh returned, Rahulji went to meet him. All this shows that he has tremendous respect for Dr Singh. The job of the government is to listen to the party. Its the party which guides the government.

If there are praises for Mr Gandhi, he is also being criticised for not acting earlier on the ordinance issue. Some feel Mr Gandhi acted keeping in mind the forthcoming elections, and nothing else.

This is not true. We need to keep in mind that Mr Gandhi is not part of the government. He does not attend Cabinet meetings. Also, this is not a new phenomenon. Even in the past, if the party was upset with some government decision, it made the government take it back. Rahulji, as vice-president of the party, expressed his opinion in strong words. He was anguished. He had received feedback and reaction of the people on the ordinance and the bill. He acted in the interest of the country.

The UPA constituents and supporters like the Nationalist Congress Party, the National Conference and the Samajwadi Party feel that withdrawing the ordinance has hit the sanctity of the Cabinet.

I do not think that will be a major issue. Their grievances will be addressed at a proper forum.

You are one of the leading faces of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. You are also regarded as a close associate of the controversial board president, N. Srinivasan. It is said that after his comeback all his loyalists have been rewarded, and that includes you.

There is no question of being rewarded. I have been BCCI’s vice-president many times. It’s nothing new and can’t be termed as a reward. I can only say that I am close and loyal to the BCCI, not to any individual or any group.

How can you support Mr Srinivasan Don’t you think it was his moral responsibility to step aside after his son-in-law was accused and charge-sheeted in the betting scam

There was a suggestion by a few members that he should step aside. He did so. Later, when the question of statutory requirement came, the working committee authorised him to discharge the president’s functions. He is only discharging statutory functions till he gets a new directive from the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the BCCI and indicated that all’s not well in the board.

If the apex court has made any observation, we shall look into it. Since the observation that has come is not elaborate, the BCCI lawyers are unable to respond. If the top court points out deficiencies, we will definitely correct them. The BCCI is the most efficiently run (sports) body in the world. There are so many sports organisations in the country. Why is it that the BCCI alone has earned name and fame at the international level and popularised the game of cricket. What the US is to the UN, the BCCI is to the International Cricket Council. The BCCI has earned its reputation and one should appreciate this, rather than criticise.

There is a feeling that Mr Srinivasan has been bulldozing his way through despite objections from the board members.

He is not trying to bulldoze. All decisions are being taken by the working committee and are then ratified by the board. Narendra Modi’s remark — “first toilets then temples” — shows that he is pressing on the development agenda and placing Hindutva on the backburner.

Sometime back Jairam Ramesh had made a similar observation and then the entire BJP was up in arms and demanded an apology from him. Today, they are quiet. The truth is Mr Modi never did anything for Hindus, but provoked and exploited them to suit his political ends. He has never been to any famous temple.

If the BJP is exploiting Hindu sentiments, the Congress is accused of exploiting Muslims for votebank politics.

The Congress stands for all castes, communities and each and every section of the society. There is no discrimination, no appeasement. The Congress treats Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists alike. It’s ironical that while the Congress is blamed for opening the doors of the Ayodhya shrine, it is also accused of minority appeasement. You are accused of being soft on terror.

We are not soft on terror. Nor are we failing to repulse any attack on our borders. All talk of China occupying a large chunk of our territory is baseless. It is ironical that the Opposition parties on one hand demand that we should have good relations with our neighbours, and on the other want us to attack them. The BJP wants us to target Pakistan, the SP wants us to attack China, the DMK and AIADMK Sri Lanka, and the Trinamul Congress Bangladesh.