New Delhi: Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is going to win both the battles — against Covid-19 and the ongoing tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh — Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Sunday amid criticism from the Congress.
“Mai ek baat spasth kar du, dono jung hum jeetenge, aur janta ko aashvast karna chahta hu Modi ji ke netritva mai dono jung jeetnege (Let me make one thing clear, we will win both the battles. I want to assure the people that under Modiji’s leadership we will win both the battles),” he said in response to a question on the tension in Eastern Ladakh and the Covid situation in the country.
In his interview to ANI, Shah, however, refused to answer specific questions on whether Chinese soldiers are still present in Indian territory. He said it was not an appropriate time to comment on the situation at the LAC but said “briefings were going on and that if the need arose, he would also answer”.
Criticising Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his “surrender Modi” comment, Shah said it was unfortunate that at such a time the opposition party was indulging in “occhi rajneeti (shallow minded politics)”.
He accused the opposition of indulging in anti-India propaganda and said the government was not “scared” of a debate in Parliament. “We are fully capable of handling anti-India propaganda but it does pain when a former president of such a big political party (Rahul Gandhi) does occhi rajniti at a time of problems,” Shah said. “He and the Congress should introspect as his hashtag (surrender Modi) is being taken forward by Pakistan and China. It is not for me. You are saying what China and Pakistan like. At this time of crisis.”
When asked to comment on the Congress accusing the BJP of not being democratic enough, Shah claimed that the Congress has had no president from outside of the Gandhi family after Indira Gandhi, so it should not talk about democracy.
This, however, is factually incorrect as Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri have served as Congress presidents since Indira Gandhi’s second tenure ended in 1984 and Sonia Gandhi took over in 1998.
On his part, Shah cited the examples of himself, besides Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, and incumbent J.P. Nadda to drive home his point that the BJP has been “democratic”.
Rahul Gandhi and the Congress have stepped up their attack on the Modi government over its handling of the India-China crisis with Gandhi even saying that Modi has surrendered the country to China.
No need to panic: Shah on Delhi’s Covid situation
On the Delhi front, Shah who has been overseeing the Covid management in the national capital said remarks made by Deputy Chief Minister Manidsh Sisodia that there would be 5.5 lakh Covid-19 cases in Delhi by the end of July had created “panic” among the people. He expressed confidence that such a situation would not occur and ruled out any community transmission in Delhi.
“Around the second week of June, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sidodia said that by July 31 there will be 5.50 lakh persons infected with the virus. He said that there will be no place left, no beds and the situation will be difficult,” Shah said. “This has created a lot of fear in the minds of the people in Delhi. His estimate was based on figures, I do not want to go into whether the estimate was right or wrong. But a situation of fear arose and some people started mulling an exodus (out of Delhi).”
He assured the people of Delhi that such a situation would not arise and the government has already ramped up testing and is improving the infrastructure every day to combat the coronavirus. “I can now say with confidence that the situation of 5.5 lakh cases will not come on July 31,” he said.
The home minister said a system has been put in place wherein right from the municipal corporations, Centre and the Delhi government are working in tandem. “There is coordination… Arvind Kejriwal is always kept in the loop. Decisions are taken by involving him also,” he said.
Shah also said the Modi government has addressed the issue of migrant labourers “very well”. “I think that the government’s efforts were not projected properly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I asked all the state Chief Ministers on day one of the lockdown for the arrangement of stay and meals for the labourers as industries will be closed. Every state had arranged accommodation and food for workers. Around 2.5 crore people were served.” he said.
Shah, however, agreed some “saddening incidents happened.. when people lost control and started travelling on foot”. “We were also pained by it. PM Modi had told all CMs to run buses to ferry migrants traveling on foot to the nearest railway stations,” he said. “Until now, 1.2 crore (one crore and twenty lakh) people have been ferried across the nation.”
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.