In an interview to Rajya Sabha TV, ideologue & BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav slammed the opposition for politicising the farmers’ unrest and the Kashmir issue. He said that the Opposition only looks for photo-opportunity moments.
On the job creation crisis, Madhav categorically said that regular employment was a cause for concern. He claimed that figures of self employment have not been taken into consideration, and once that’s done the employment figures would look better.
He completely dismissed reports about the press being gagged. The leader who has also been an RSS ideologue, said that media writes against against the Modi government and that the Indian journalists are not meek to succumb under any kind of governmental pressure.
Justifying the cattle sale ban, Madhav said the government has done what the apex court asked for to check cattle smuggling. Dismissing reports of a larger Hindutva agenda Madhav said BJP government was not imposing anything on anyone.
Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:
What have been the challenges for the past three years for Modi government?
Any government should be rated by its performance and popularity and how people perceive the governance. On that count I think the current government has done well.
What is BJP minus Narendra Modi?
This is a futile effort to separate Modi from BJP. Modi and BJP is one entity. It doesn’t work that way.
What sense do you get from the opposition in the country today?
As a politician of the ruling party I will be the happiest person if the opposition is not working. It’s not the ruling party’s responsibility to see how opposition functions. I feel that there should be a more coherent opposition voice. Opposition is directionless.
Job creation is a major area of concern, average employment generation has plummeted to 2 lakh jobs a year?
Job creation has been a challenge for the last ten years. The number of people becoming employable is high but job creation has been not that high. There are several self employment schemes and those figures have still not been accounted. Regular employment is definitely a cause for concern.
Farmers are rioting in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, is the policy towards the farmers going wrong somewhere?
Government has done so much for the welfare of the farmers from soil health cards, insurance schemes, making things available at low rates, availability of technology.
Is farmers’ unrest a political or socio economic symptom of a disease?
Farmers want loan waivers. It’s a big challenge for any government, procurement is a very big problem, if procurement is not addressed, the farmers suffer. Political parties are finding photo opportunities in farmers’ agitations. They are encouraging violence.
There is no big idea on Kashmir by the NDA government?
It’s problem for the entire country to understand. It should not be looked at from the prism of PDP-BJP. There is an effort to oust the PDP-BJP government. Many political parties are not comfortable with the idea of the current political set up. It’s easy to stoke violence.
Your approach towards Kashmir is almost like the Congress?
We have stood firm on issues like no compromise with the separatists. We have nothing to do with these groups.
For the present government, is Kashmir about Pakistan and terrorism?
People sitting in the TV studio do not know that it’s not a political issue. Separatist groups do not want any development to happen. We have extended a package of Rs. 80,0000 crore.
There is a feeling that BJP has forced the PDP to become moderate and they have lost their credibility?
What’s the harm if they are moderate? Everybody in politics should be moderate.
What was the idea behind the cattle sale ban?
Today for want of any issues people misrepresent ideas. During UPA regime a senior Congress leader was accused of cattle being smuggled in to neighbouring countries. They recommended that there should be a ban on cattle for slaughtering purposes. Supreme Court now has come up with a directive. They have come up with some guidelines. There is large scale dependence on cattle.
What about the economic fallout on the meat industry?
People can go back to the court if they feel injustice has been done to them. We have to realise that the economic cost of small farmers is more important than the economic fallout on meat industry. We need a balance between the two.
There is an effort to homogenise the society into Hindutva society on the basis of hatred for Muslims?
No one believes what the opposition says. Here is a government that cares for each and everyone. Our track record is the answer.
On foreign policy, has the government faltered with Pakistan and China?
We stood firm on our interests and our sovereignty. Our relations have also not deteriorated. We have to take a stand on issues like belt and road. Even China does not tolerate when sovereignty issues come in their way. Pakistan is a difficult neighbour. Even Manmohan faced problems. At the international arena we have isolated Pakistan.
Is there hyper nationalism?
If there is hyper nationalism there is also hyper anti-nationalism. Everybody is free to abuse, it’s a thin line.
India has slipped on freedom of press index. People are gagged if they speak against the government?
India’s journalists are so meek that they succumb under pressure, are you trying to say that? Everyone is attacking the government. Not just that, media is also isolating anyone who is speaking for the government.
(You can watch the entire interview on the show To The Point at 10 pm on Wednesday, only on RSTV)