New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday (October 19) spoke on several key issues including the India-China standoff at Line of Actual Control (LAC), Rajput’s death, handling of COVID-19 situation, his own health, Bihar Assembly election, and role of LJP chief Chirag Paswan, besides several other topics in an exclusive interview with Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary. 

On the question of his health, Amit Shah very clearly said that he is not secretive, and added that when he came to know that he was corona positive, he immediately tweeted in this regard. He also laughed at the speculations that he had some serious ailment. 

The Home Minister also greeted the countrymen on Navratri and urged people to celebrate the festival in such a way that it helps in defeating the deadly coronavirus. He also advised people to wear masks, maintain a distance of 2 yards and take special care of cleanliness. 

Bihar Assembly election

Since Amit Shah, who is now enjoying good health, is coming back with the Bihar elections. When asked what difference do you see in this situation from 2015, he said that in the last assembly election social equations were not in their favour, but this time everything is upside down, and “Social equations are in our favour.” In Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s party JD-U and BJP are contesting elections together. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself will address many big rallies in Bihar. 

Dring the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central government has extended help to about 60 crore people under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Bihar government has also done a very good job under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. More than 1500 trains were run for Bihar to transport more than two and a half million labourers. 

There was some communication gap that caused hardships to some laborers, but the government did not spare any effort to help people the COVID-induced lockdown.

When asked about the confusion being created by LJP leader Chirag Paswan in Bihar polls, Amit Shah said he cannot say anything about LJP. He clearly stated that LJP is no longer part of NDA in Bihar. BJP-JD(U)-HUM and VIP are contesting elections under Nitish Kumar’s leadership. LJP is no longer part of this alliance. On Chirag Paswan’s statement that PM Modi lives in his heart, Shah said this is in the minds of several opposition leaders.

When asked Chirag Paswan is becoming more ambitious, he said that the NDA had a long discussion with the LJP, and they were offered enough seats, but they decided to break the alliance. “Now they are not our alliance partner in Bihar,” he added.

On Media and TRP scam 

On the question of the number of cases related to media in courts and police stations in the last 6 months, and the government being questioned by court, he expressed concern over the present situation. Amit Shah said apprehension is prevalent everywhere and the matter has become a cause of concern for society as well as the government. 

“I cannot do anything on this matter right now, but the way news has been coming in the last few days, I feel the system needs to be streamlined and at least there should not be politics in it,” he said, adding that the media and the court can fix the issue because if the government intervenes, it will set a wrong precedence. Therefore, people in the media and the institutions made for it along with the court should fix it.

President Rule in West Bengal 

In the current scenario in the West Bengal, he said that he would not like any comment on this, but will definitely say that there is a worrying situation in Bengal. Killing political rivals, and later implicating people of the same party in the murder. Incidents of shoot-outs and bomb factories in every district show that the administration has collapsed, he added. 

The administration has collapsed in every way and the people of Bengal are suffering, he said, adding that “We are there in the opposition, therefore striving hard to raise the voice of the people. He said that several of his party workers have been murdered and their voices are being suppressed, adding “there is hardly any state in the country where so many murders would have taken place in the last few days due to political reasons.”

When his attention was drawn that Mamta Banerjee used to make the same allegations against CPM and demanded President’s rule, he said his party workers demanding the same, but the government has to take a decision in a balanced manner.

When reminded that during Prime Minister’s meeting with the Chief Ministers to discuss the ways to control the COVID-19 pandemic, some Chief Ministers did neither support nor extend any coordination, he said Bengal was one such state. He said the government did not face any problem from other states and even Congress and Communist-ruled states supported the government. 

Abrogation of Article 370 

When asked if the government objective behind the detention of Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti has been fulfilled and what the motive behind it, Amit Shah said the objective has been met with to a large extent, but due to the COVID situation it was slowed down a bit. 

He said, “Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the government was naturally busy fighting the fight against it. The pace of work has increased again there for four-five months. I think that the development that Kashmir has not witnessed for the past 70 years, we will be able to show in the next year.” 

Efforts have been made to provide help to people. The work of providing electricity has started in every village, water has started reaching every village. Panchayat elections were conducted successfully. Elections of the district panchayat are going to be announced in a day or two, so our three-level Panchayati system will also be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir. Local people will get their rights and they will be able to plan the budget according to their needs to put Kashmir on the track of development, he added. 

As far as law and order in Kashmir is concerned, he said that everything is under control. As far as the Abdullah and Mufti families are concerned, it is natural for them to protest because they have ruled there for so many years under the garb of 370. They deliberately tried to keep the poor remain poor and they patronised corruption. The mines of corruption have now been closed, he added. 

He also responded to the question of Mehbooba approaching the Supreme Court to know why was she kept under house arrest? The Home Minister said earlier she was not under house arrest but was under arrest so that she could not provoke the sentiments of people. Because of the kind of statements that used to come at that time, the move to arrest her and then put her under house arrest was appropriate. As soon as the situation became normal, everyone has been allowed to come out. 

He also made it clear that they should run their party. There are many parties in this country, and they should also be followed in Jammu and Kashmir.

India-China border row

On the question of misunderstanding Chinese move, the Hime Minister said that we always try to improve the relationship with our neighbours. There can be no harm in it, but we should not sacrifice our interest. “We tried to improve the relationship, and when we felt that there was an attempt to encroach on our borders, we responded forcefully,” he said.

He further said, “We even tried to improve our relationship with Pakistan, as we did with China. But when they behave differently, our stand also changed,” adding “we are determined to protect the borders of the country and the same has been demonstrated by the Modi government.”

On the question of a two-front war, he said “I do not believe such a situation will arise. Right now, talks are on at the diplomatic level as well as between the army officials of the two nations. We are hopeful of a better outcome from these talks.” He reiterated that no one will be allowed to encroach even one inch on our land and the government of India has firmly conveyed this message. 

He poohpoohed Rahul Gandhi’s 15-minute formula and said they should have used the same formula in 1962 when thousands of square hectares of land was usurped by China. He said, “I am proud of the soldiers of the Bihar Regiment, who have protected our country’s border by staying alert at night and responded to the misadventure of Chinese soldiers. 

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