In an exclusive interview with The Sentinel in New Delhi, the BJP tiol president stresses on the importance of NRC update and the threat to tiol security from votebank politics with illegal migrants
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 26: The BJP wants a permanent solution to the long-festering problem of illegal influx to Assam. To tackle it requires strong political will and cooperation of the Assam and West Bengal governments with the Centre, feels BJP tiol president Amit Shah. In an exclusive interview with The Sentinel at his 11 Akbar Road residence in New Delhi, Shah stressed on how vital the NRC update is for the State, and the threat to tiol security from votebank politics with illegal migrants. Shah is also upbeat that the BJP will successfully capitalize on the growing frustration of voters in Assam following years of Congress misrule and corruption. Excerpts of the interview:
* What do you feel about the political situation in Assam?
Amit Shah: The Congress government indulged in rampant corruption and misrule in Assam in the last 14 years. People are now fed up. I am sure that the electorate will end the Congress innings in Assam in the 2016 Assembly elections.
* There are allegations that the Congress has been enticing voters through its yarn-blanket politics. Do you think it will be easy to dethrone the party?
Amit Shah: Yes, why not? People of Assam want peace and development. The youth want jobs. Women want security. Tea workers want facilities. The Boro people want peace and only a BJP government can provide these.
* Big dams continue to be an issue in Assam, with several frontal organizations still agitating against it. What is your take on it?
Amit Shah: Let the BJP come to power. You will see a solution to the issue then.
* The Congress has been making allegations that the BJP government at the Centre has been ignoring the interests of Assam.
Amit Shah: Assam, being a border State, has been given special attention. Within a year, the Prime Minister has already visited the region four times. For the first time, the NEC meeting was held in the region (Shillong) and not in Delhi. The DoNER is conducting camp secretariats in each State to ensure people do not have to come to Delhi. Every month, eight union ministers are visiting the region. The result of these actions will be manifested in the next election results. Following years of instability, agitations and law and order problems, the people of Assam had given a chance to the Congress. But it has miserably failed to meet the expectations of the people.
*Do you think the problem of illegal migration can be solved?
Amit Shah: BJP wants to see Assam as an illegal migrant-free State. After the BJP came to power, the work of updating the NRC has been put on fast track. Unless the NRC is updated, it would be difficult to resolve the issue. Moreover, one needs political will to solve the problem. I am sure if the next governments installed in Assam and West Bengal cooperate with the Centre, the problem can be solved once and for all. The State governments should be determined to settle the issue.
*The AIUDF is making fast inroads in the State. Will it not be a threat for the BJP?
Amit Shah: If anyone is indulging in vote bank politics exploiting the issue of illegal migrants, it is a grave threat to tiol security.
*What is your take on the demand of six ethnic communities of Assam for ST status?
Amit Shah: The BJP feels that the six ethnic communities should get their rights. I will discuss the issue with the stakeholders and try to ensure that justice is done to them.
* After an unprecedented mandate in the Lok Sabha elections, you suffered a humiliating defeat in the Delhi elections. Is the BJP’s popularity waning?
Anit Shah: No, not at all. After the Lok Sabha elections, Assembly elections were held in five states and BJP came to power in four. Even in case of Delhi, I would not say that the party’s popularity has declined. We are alyzing the Delhi results and taking the necessary measures.
* The government hasn’t walked the talk on black money.
Amit Shah: The BJP government, in the first decision of the cabinet, decided to set up an SIT. This was a huge step forward in the war against black money. Information on 700 cases was available with the Central government for three years. But the then government did not act on it. Fince minister Arun Jaitley within one and a half months, handed over that information to the SIT and action is being taken. In the budget session, we also brought in a tough law against black money.
* There is an impression that the BJP government is pro-corporate. What steps have you taken for the poor?
Amit Shah: Even after 68 years of Independence, 60 crore people in India had no bank accounts. The Modi government has got bank accounts opened for 14 crore people in one year. We’ve linked them with the fincial system and this is the first time an effort has been made to ensure the fincial system reaches the poor. We have provided security cover to the poor.
The country has been under Congress rule for 90 per cent of the time and the party acquired land from farmers at dirt cheap prices. With the amendments we brought in to the Land Acquisition Act, I can say with authority, not one inch of land will be given to favour companies. The land bill is purely aimed at ensuring that development reaches the villages. Roads, railways and defence production units will be used for this. Land will be acquired only for projects which will create jobs. But farmers, when they get two or four times the prices, won’t become landless labourers. They will buy land and put the rest of the money for some other use. They will engage in farming and prosper. This is a win-win land bill and a friend of the farmers.