You say 'a criminal should be in jail or be dead'. Doesn't this subvert the basic concept of the judiciary?
I have great respect for the judiciary. But my first responsibility is to ensure the safety of the people—their life and property. If an encounter takes place and a criminal dies, woh upar hi jayega. (He will go to heaven.) When there is an encounter, the policeman should live, not the criminal. Sure, when a criminal is killed, the question of his human rights is raised, but what about the rights of somebody's son who is killed by a criminal? A criminal should have no human rights.
But why should a chief minister decide who should be granted human rights?
The court decides only when the case goes to court. When a criminal opens fire in an encounter with the police and gets killed—and the policemen also have an equal chance of getting killed—where does the court come in? In fact the Human Rights Commission has praised us in its report that Uttar Pradesh has set an example in registering cases and lodging FIRs. Around 156 criminals have been killed in encounters with the police; not even one was fake.
The governor stirred a controversy when he said there was scope for improvement in the law and order situation.
I did not take it as a controversial point. I have already said that in every sphere there is scope for improvement, whether in my work or in the governor's field.
Even your party president Thakre has expressed concern.
Well, even I get perturbed when I hear about a murder or a rape. If he expressed concern, it was normal.
You want to check crime. What about your Cabinet colleagues with a criminal background?
I will not comment on who was doing what before joining my Cabinet. But after joining the Cabinet no one has ever committed any criminal act. It has not come to my notice. I am not sitting here to open anyone's past history; I am here to run the government.
There is a lot of resentment among your colleagues over your 'style of functioning'?
My style of functioning includes hard work, fight against corruption and not buckling under undue pressure. Now tell me should I change my style of functioning?
Can a minority government afford to stick to your style?
I am not going to change my style of functioning—and that includes punishing criminals. Why should I change it? My government and I are dealing with the goons the way they should be dealt with. And this will continue. Those who put pressure on me to take unjustified favours get angry with me. They are not doing any good to the party.
There has been talk of a mid-term poll ever since you took over.
Every live political party should keep its powder dry. We also have to keep our powder dry to meet any eventuality of any kind. We don't want to have any false notion.