From the beginning of the Narendra Modi saga in Gujarat, Amit Shah has been his right-hand man. Already facing charges in the encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi, the problems for the former minister of state for home escalated last week when the CBI filed a chargesheet and named him as the kingpin in the killing of Tulsiram Prajapati, an eyewitness in the Sohrabuddin case. But Shah, who is out on bail, remains defiant and determined to play an innings in the state assembly elections in December. Excerpts from an interview to Panini Anand:
Modi says more Muslims will vote for him this time. Do you think your presence will damage his efforts?
I don’t think so. We are going to win elections with a two-thirds majority. The vote percentage is going to increase. I am a small person. Chhota aadmi hoon. I don’t think my presence or absence will make much difference.
But you have always been Modi’s right-hand man?
There is no question of being the right- or left-hand man. I have always tried to work for him and the party.
Just after the Supreme Court allowed your entry in the state, you announced you will campaign for the party with full effort and energy.
Yes, I am going to do so. I said that in the party executive. Not even a week has passed, I will be clearer about my role and situation in the next couple of days.
Will you contest elections this time?
Yes, if the party decides, I will contest.
But Advani didn’t contest in 1996 due to criminal charges against him in the hawala case. Don’t you think you should follow the same path?
He is a big leader. I don’t want to be compared with him. Main Advaniji ki barabari nahin kar sakta, unse bahut chhota hoon.
You have been named in the CBI’s chargesheet on fake encounters in Gujarat under your home ministership. Do you think it’s morally correct to campaign and contest?
First thing, all these charges are completely baseless. They have nothing to prove against me. The CBI has been misused against many politicians, including me. This is all a part of a political conspiracy against me. If I am wrong, why was YSR a good man and his son a bad man for the same party? See the others also; how many of them are terrified by this misuse of CBI.
Yes, I will also think about what you are saying, but that hardly matters because at the end of the day, I am a party worker and will do what the party will ask me to do.
What’s the guarantee the BJP or NDA won’t misuse the CBI the same way you claim it’s being misused today?
Give us one example when this was done during the NDA tenure.
But why do you think that the Supreme Court order is a great relief; it’s a ‘cat in, mouse out’ situation. The SC has less faith in the state government as these cases have been moved out from the state....
Send them to any court in any part of this country. You or anyone can’t find anything against me. Some ngos are earning their bread and butter by doing this. Let me ask you. Why will I kill Sohrabuddin or anyone else? There has to be some motive. They can’t establish it. Now, they have come up with more than 300 cases of extortion against me. All of them are baseless; even the SC has found them to be trash.
There are phone records to suggest you ordered removal of documents.
So who ordered these encounters ?
The CBI will answer it. The court will decide over it. I can’t comment on it now. As far as the encounter of people like Sohrabuddin is concerned; what do you think they were? Some 150 AK-47 rifles, 250 hand-grenades and about one lakh ammunition were recovered from his place. Though I don’t agree that he should have been killed, there is no doubt about him being anti-national. And, let me remind you that those who died in encounters (in Gujarat) were not even anti-social elements; they were all anti-nationals.
Do you think Modi is fit to be the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections? Who will lead the state in case he moves to Delhi?
Outlook or any other media house should not worry about who will replace whom. We have a party to decide and it will be done when the time comes. Yes, he is the perfect man to be the prime ministerial candidate. After all, he is among one of the senior and most popular faces of our party. I hope he will become the prime minister, but for now our focus is only on the Gujarat elections.
What about Nitish Kumar or the others who are not comfortable with Modi becoming a prime ministerial candidate?
They will be convinced. We’ll talk to all our allies if Modiji’s name is decided as PM candidate by the BJP. We are winning with a two-thirds majority and more seats in the state. There will be a straight fight between the BJP and the Congress on more than 270 seats in the 2014 elections; there is no scope for the third front. The NDA will form the (next) government.
But there are voices against Modi’s autocratic nature....
The leadership has to be ruthless, but one has to understand that the ruthlessness is for politics or for development and good governance. I can see that he is so far the biggest victim of liberties given in a democracy.
In his interview to Outlook (‘Modi’s the biggest victim of democracy’s liberties’), Shah asks the question: how come the 1,150-odd cases of encounters in other states, including Congress-ruled ones, are not being discussed at all? Can someone answer it please?
Narendra M Apte
We can understand obsession or jealous of Gujarat or Modi why because same Maharastrian once said that Gujarat cant survey if it goes alone from Maharastar but Gujaratis proved it wrong and Modi proved that Gujarat can give much better administration than Maharastra..
This what causing fire under you..Keep it burning..
(1) When we are discussing elections in Gujarat in 2012, let us not overlook the fact that in 2007 Assembly elections Mr. Narendra Modi’s party, BJP, got less than fifty per cent of the total votes. (2) Even if National Democratic Alliance comes to power in 2014 or earlier, Mr. Narendra Modi may not be the first natural choice of his party’s alliances. His party’s relationship with alliance partners is a very critical element if he has to be accepted as a serious contender for Prime Minister’s post. (3) It is rather difficult to predict whether Mr Narendra Modi can function at national level with same freedom as he is able to do now in his home state of Gujarat. (4) His success in Gujarat may have more to do with the entrepreneurial acumen of Gujarat’s business community. (5) We should not be carried away by propaganda of BJP or any other party about Mr. Modi’s achievements or failures. We should insist on have findings of an unbiased study of Gujarat’s economic progress during the last ten years. (6) We need not ignore development inequalities in Gujarat or high levels of air and water pollution in some areas of Gujarat. (7) Mr. Modi has yet to demonstrate that he can tolerate a dissenting viewpoint. He is known to have an authoritarian streak and does not like people who are not in agreement with him on any issues concerning national economy or role of religion in India’s democratic set up.
OUTLOOK by the Gujaraties, for the Gujaraties, of the Gujaraties (and about the Gujaraties) !!
"Mr. Shah, what is your definition of "victim"? How would you describe those who were killed, raped, burnt, whose livelihood and homes were destroyed, the refugess, the displaced?" - Santosh John Samuel
Did Amit Shah deny that those who suffered in 2002 were not "victims"? And, how does one address the pains of those victims? By making a victim out of Modi, simply because he happened to be the CM?
Millions have been spent by NGOs and do-gooders on Gujarat 2002. How much of that reached these "victims"?
Santosh John Samuel
First you answer for 26/02/2002 what happend at Godhra Station then we will answer to all your quries...
Just because womesn where travelling with Karsevak in same compartment is that Ok to burn them alive???
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