In an exclusive interview with ETV Bharat, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav talks about achievements of Modi government, the aim of 5 trillion dollar economy and the need to become self-reliant in post-COVID world.
What is the greatest achievement of this government in the midst of the coronavirus crisis?
Ram Madhav: We have many achievements to the credit of the Modi 2.0. There are many welfare schemes for the farmers and the poor. The Modi government has introduced many social welfare schemes for women, poor and labourers. Our government has taken many important decisions such as the laws on triple talaq for Muslim women and on the transgenders and the abolition of the Article 370 and 35 A which was in view of the national unity, the Citizens Amendment Act that gives citizenship to refugees. We have taken many steps to take forward the Indian economy towards the 5 trillion dollars mark.
Will Indian economy be able to achieve the 5 trillion dollar target ?
Ram Madhav: We are heading towards the 5 trillion economy. Only thing is that there has been slow down on account of the coronavirus but this is true not only for India but the entire world. It is natural that people would have doubts if the Indian economy would be able to achieve the target of 5 trillion by 2025. But let me first tell that Indian economy would not only achieve 5 trillion but 10 trillion mark by 2030. There has been a stumbling block in the meantime but the government will expedite its project and policies and overcome the block in the coming quarter.
Do you believe that India has got a golden opportunity to finish the Chinese market and achieve Atma-Nirbharta ?
Ram Madhav: The Modi government strove towards achieving the larger picture of self-reliance in starting its first term in office. It was for self-reliance that the Modi government had brought in schemes like start-up India and Stand-up India so that we can stand on our feet and do trade. Now that we are facing pandemic, it has come to our notice that there are several areas where we can march ahead.
Self-reliance does not mean that we would be cut off from the rest of the world and sit at home but it means we will stand on our feet and from Swadeshi as our base we will take the Indian economy to 5 trillion mark and become a world leader.
Are Omar Abdullah and Mahbooba only two leaders in Kashmir? Be it removing Article 370 and 35 A, or the introduction of CAA, the opposition does not consider these as achievements and is alleging that the government had deliberated created controversy.
Ram Madhav: Opposition may have attempted to rake up controversy on whichever issue, but let me be very clear that whatever steps have been taken in national interest, in the interest of the security and unity of the country. The most important thing is that we have not come up with anything new.
Our party’s ideological position on these issues has always been there since the very beginning. We have gone to the people with our ideological stand on these issues. As for the Article 370, we have not done anything new. We have been saying about this for the last fifty years. We have been telling the people about this and have taken decision accordingly. The opposition is free to oppose this to some extent but their opposition does not mean that people have not supported the move.
There is a talk that industrialists would be given some special concessions so that they set up units in Jammu and Kashmir
Ram Madhav: After the abrogation of Article 370 Jammu and Kashmir is now administered by the Central government. So everything in Jammu and Kashmir is same as in other states of India. However, recently the Union Home Ministry has approved a new domicile policy for Jammu and Kashmir in the interest of the people and the state.
The framing of the domicile policy was the first step on the basis of which all other policies would follow. Broadly, we all want that investments should come to Jammu and Kashmir and there should be development so that people can get employment and they have a higher standard of living. Right now, Jammu and Kashmir’s economy is wholly dependent on the Centre but this situation can change only when Jammu and Kashmir becomes self-reliant and the industry and businesses grow there.
Do you think to restore normalcy in the state it is necessary to encourage political activities as most political leaders have now been released from detention.
Ram Madhav: Do only two persons do political activities? There are thousands of leaders there. There are leaders of all political parties. Not a single leader of the Congress party is in jail. Why is not the Congress doing political activities? Barring a few NC and PDP leaders all are free. They can start political activities. Today, people of the state have accepted abrogation of Article 370.
Barring the BJP, leaders of all other political parties are not working as a bridge and doing political activities. We appeal to them to come out of their homes and start political activities to take the new order forward in the state. Political and economic activities must start there.
Though Omar Abdullah is out, his party is not doing any political activity. There is talk doing rounds that a political pact between Omar Abdullah and the BJP.
Ram Madhav: As of today, only 24 political leaders are under detention. I believe that as soon as the situation becomes normal they too will be free to carry out political activities. As as far as our party is concerned our party and workers are active in Jammu and doing their work. We will also try to be become focal point among the people of Kashmir valley.
People were at the mercy of the National Conference till now. But now the situation has changed. Bharatiya Janata Party, as a national party, will now go to the people and try to be at the centre of political activities in the Valley. At the moment, there is no attempt on our part to form a political alliance.
Is there a possibility of increasing seats in the Jammu region after delimitation?
Ram Madhav: When the process of delimitation had started in 2006, it could be exercised in the state for some reason. Under the new law, six seats have been increased. We will have to start new process on the basis of the Parliament. In the new formation, one must talk about how many seats Jammu will get and how many the rest. The delimitation commission should be totally divided and to take the process forward. We will then see how many seats the Jammu region gets and how many the rest of the state.
‘Don’t rely on baseless news, China became aggressive because of internal problem’
Ram Madhav: There is a border of 3,500 km between India and China. Part of the region has always remained tense. If we talk about the last ten years, there would have been at least 1,000 incidents of China crossing the Actual Line of Control. It is happening even today. This time, China appears more aggressive. One thing this time is that many types of videos and reports are floating on the social media. We must not believe these reports till there is no official statement from the government. For example, someone says that Chinese troops have entered 25 km inside the Indian territory. There is no reason to believe this as we have kept total vigil.
We will not budge even an inch
Ram Madhav: Ever since the formation of the Modi government, there has been a significant change in the border issue. Now when there is a dispute about the border, there is definitely an attempt to find a solution through diplomacy, but we will not retreat even an inch on the ground. Our army stands firmly on the ground for what is our sovereign region. The same thing happened during Doklam. Even today, when China is encroaching LAC, we stand firmly on the ground. In the last 40 years, not a single bullet has been fired on this border. We do not want war. But we will not compromise on land. We will talk through diplomacy. This policy is being followed in Ladakh. Do not trust the rest of the news.
Is China taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis?
Ram Madhav: China has been showing this kind of aggression from time to time for which there have been internal reasons. As far as India is concerned, it has never been aggressive. There has been no war. We have always been protecting the border peacefully. We have never been provocating, yet China does this. If this type of incident happens, it means that China has internal problems. At this time, there is a crisis of external pressure on China’s leadership. America is mounting pressure. There are problems in Hong Kong. There is a problem with Taiwan. Within China, there is public outrage about Corona and its management.
Can Pakistan take advantage of the situation?
Ram Madhav: We are also keeping full vigil on the border of Pakistan. However, Pakistan is constantly engaged in trying to infiltrate terrorists. The summer season has started in Kashmir. It runs from June-July-August. At this time Pakistan infiltrates terrorists. At this time the mountain passes open. Our army is fully alert. In a day, the army killed 14 terrorists. We are on alert. And in any case, will not let Pakistan take advantage of this situation. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are also not supporting the terrorists. People also want peace. We will also fulfill the will of the people. Pakistan will not get any opportunity.
‘On every scheme and every issue, the Opposition has not remained united even during the coronavirus crisis.’
Ram Madhav: This is unfortunate for us. The opposition is not cooperating with us when we are fighting a battle for the health and the security of 130 crore people. On the other hand Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders are bent on sullying the image of India in the eyes of the world. There is also the problem of migrant labourers in the times of coronavirus crisis. Is the Central government fighting alone? Are not the state governments in this battle? Are not the Congress governments involved? More than half the migrant labourers have left from Congress-ruled states – Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Should one do politics over this? We need to work together as representatives of 130 crore people. The Opposition is only doing pseudo politics. It is wrong to say that no help is being given. The biggest failure in respect of the problems of migrant labourers has been that of the Maharashtra government and then of Bengal. We must fight the battle unitedly. But very little of the Opposition is seen.
Now the BJP has started political activities. You had not thought about the problem of migrant labourers because of which they had to face grave difficulties.
Ram Madhav: All the things being spoken in the context of lockdown are meaningless and ridiculous. At that time imposing lockdown had become mandatory. If we had not applied lockdown, then the condition of India would have been worse than that of America and Italy. We enforced lockdown firmly in time. In the next three weeks, we made many preparations in the health sector. We did not have testing kits. PPEs were not available. It should have been our effort to give assurance to migrant labourers.
We should have said that we will end your concern. By the way, the central and state governments have done their bit. The NGOs helped. RSS and other organizations helped. Know one more thing, there are about eight crore migrant labourers in India. Only 70-90 lakh of them left for their home states.
They too should not have left should have been our effort. Unfortunately some people left due to anxiety and fear. But as soon as this number increased, we arranged for trains. Increased its number. Tell me, if we had announced that there would be lockdown after four days, then people would made a mad rush. The situation would have become unmanageable then.
(The interview was originally carried by ETV Bharat on June 4, 2020. Views expressed are personal)