While listing the BJP govt's achievements, Shah caught on the wrong foot
BJP President Amit Shah while speaking as the inaugural speaker at the India Today Conclave on Friday said that he would not like to hazard a guess on the number of seats the NDA would win in 2019 elections but would win with a renewed majority. “Back in 2014, I had told party workers that we will win more seats in 2019,” he said adding that the BJP would gain seats in the North East and Odisha and may lose some seats in states where it won cent per cent seats. “We will the win 73-74 seats in UP,” he said.
Responding to a question on what is the message to Pakistan in the last 72 hours, Amit Shah said that it is up to Pakistan what it makes out of it but what is clear is that the surgical strike after Uri and the air strikes after Pulwama make it clear that this government is different from the government in power from 2004-14.
Amit Shah said that the only time there was a smile on the faces of the Pakistan media was when the Opposition raised questions about the air strikes in Pakistan. “ There is no problem in asking questions but the timing of the questions is very important,” he said. Shah defended the BJP placing ads after the 26/11 attacks questioning the then government saying that it was alright to do so during the campaign. Amit Shah said that BS Yedurappa should not have said that the strikes would help the BJP win 22 seats in Karnataka.
When told that then PM Manmohan Singh saw no merit in attacking Pakistan, preferring talks as an alternative after 26/11, Shah said, “ talks should be given a chance first and we did that with Pakistan too. But what do we when the other group doesnt understand this? It has to be replied in the same manner. The Modi govt has the best record in dealing with terrorism. Now any group will think ten times before launching an attack,” said Amit Shah on the Modi govt’s response to the Kashmir issue.
“The 2019 elections will not be contested on a single issue but multiple issues. Every citizen has a set of questions to be asked to each political party,” said BJP President Amit Shah on if 2019 elections will be contested on national security or development.
Amit Shah refuted the Opposition’s charge that the attacks were related to the upcoming elections. “ what is the Opposition trying to say, that we timed the Pulwama attack,” he said.
Amit Shah downplayed the political alliances that have come into being in the run up to the 2019 elections. “ every party has a committed vote but we contest every election seriously, we will contest this one the same way,” he said.
“Institutions are not bigger than the country,” said Amit Shah while defending the BJP government’s so called clean up of institutions. “ ever since the rule that CBI chiefs would get a fixed term, problems began to arise,” he said adding that his party’s government had no plan to change the fixed two year term.
He refuted the Opposition’s charge that the CBI was being used politically. “ we have not registered any fresh cases but people are sweating when they are now being questioned,” he said.
Shah said that individuals who question national security are trolled by people and there was nothing wrong with that. “ India Today runs a campaign against us but no one trolls you,” he said.
Amit Shah said that Priyanka Gandhi’s entry in politics will not make much of a difference. ‘She has been in politics for 12 years and the media finds something new everytime she comes back,” he said.