In an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Union Minister Anurpriya Patel defended Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s act of allegedly distributing soaps and shampoo sachets to the Musahar villagers of Kushinagar. She blamed the field officers saying that it was a problem of their mind set.
She categorically dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s demand for an apology, rather called for him to introspect about his own party’s misdeeds.
Speaking on the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter, Patel said that Centre took the decision to amend the legislation keeping in mind the sentiments of a certain section of people.
Here are some edited excerpts of the interview:
What has been the biggest achievement of the Modi government in the last three years?
BJP has given three years of tough governance. Our main focus has been development of the youth. All schemes are cantered around a progressive society. Modi, the most trusted leader in India, has taken cleanliness very seriously. Swatch Bharat is also centred around women – 4 crore toilets have been built in rural areas.
What about the recent ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter? There is so much politics over beef and cow?
India is a land of varied food habits. We are sensitive towards the cow slaughter ban issue. We are focused towards making stern decisions.
Look at the way cattle ban issue has united the opposition everywhere. They say it’s an encroachment on federalism?
No other party spoke of cooperative federalism except the BJP. We give priority to all states. Our objective is not to bulldoze the opposition. We are ready for a dialogue with the opposition on all issues.
Why did Yogi Adityanath instruct his officers to distribute shampoo sachets and soaps to the ‘musahar’ dalits before his public meeting?
Yogi Adtiyanath can’t be blamed for the distribution of shampoos and soaps. We need to change the mind-set of the officers who go on the field as they come from different backgrounds. CM can’t give explanation on all issues.
Rahul Gandhi says Yogi should apologise?
Yogi will not apologise. Rahul Gandhi should look within, he should first take action against his Congress workers for calf slaughter in Kerala.
When are you merging your party Apna Dal with BJP?
Apna Dal will not merge with BJP. BJP will always handhold us as we are junior partners. All my family conflicts are settled.
Nitish Kumar recently met prime minister, is he joining your alliance?
BJP will welcome Nitish Kumar if he becomes a partner.
Did government try to cover up the zika virus case?
Zika virus controversy blown out of proportion, it’s a localised problem which has been nipped in the bud, stringent monitoring is in progress.