New Delhi: Haryana Chief Minister M.L. Khattar Monday said tolerance has increased in the country, and accused the Congress of having indulged in appeasement politics for years.
“Congress created fear in the hearts of Muslims. I got a terrific response from Muslims during my yatra in Mewat. Muslims say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’,” Khattar said at ThePrint’s Off The Cuff in Chandigarh.
In conversation with ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta and associate editor Chitleen Sethi, the Haryana CM spoke on issues ranging from communalism, the upcoming assembly elections, the state’s crime rate, and the slowdown.
Khattar said he was going to be BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, and the party will contest with corruption as a major poll plank.
Speaking about the upcoming Haryana assembly elections, M.L. Khattar, under whom the BJP will be contesting the polls, made it clear that he will be the chief ministerial candidate of the party.
“Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah have said that I am the CM candidate. So, it is quite evident.”
The Haryana CM said corruption will be a major poll plank in the assembly elections — expected later this year — as his government has made a conscious effort to act against graft committed in the past.
However, asked about taking action against Robert Vadra, husband of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, he said: “Robert Vadra has never occupied a government position or power position. Those, who have occupied such positions and have helped others through corrupt practices, they are the real culprit — and once they are caught they will tell who else are the beneficiaries, and later those people will also be caught.”
The government had set up the Dhingra Commission to submit their report in the matter, but the Congress contested the way in which it was set up and hence a stay was given, added Khattar.
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On love jihad & communalism
The Haryana CM remained non-committal over the existence of ‘love jihad’ in the society. However, he maintained that it is wrong if it happens.
“If love jihad happens, then it is wrong. I don’t have proof but I have heard,” he said.
M.L. Khattar also rejected the charge that communalism has increased under the ruling BJP. “Earlier, there used to be so many riots but in the past few years, we’ve not heard of such riots.”
Pointing out that the media gives communal colour to many incidents, Khattar said tolerance has increased in the country, as he blamed the Congress for “indulging in appeasement politics” for years.
Claiming that he enjoys support of Muslims, the CM cited the example of Muslim legislators in his government who welcomed the anti-cow slaughter law to stress their willingness to give BJP a chance.
‘Blown out of proportion’
Asked about criticism to Haryana being labelled the ‘rape-capital’ of the country, M.L. Khattar said there has been an increase in numbers as registration of cases has gone up due to his strict instructions to the police.
“I have also read the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) data. It is clear such cases took place in 2012 and there was a spurt in such cases in 2018. But in more than 90 per cent of the cases of rape and molestation the accused were known to the victim,” he said.
The CM stressed that the government will have to educate and create more awareness. But he also criticised the media saying they blow things out of proportion.
“If in a month 4-5 cases happen they are caught by the media and media can take these cases to any extent as they have divine power. Rapes did take place, but they were blown out of proportion by the media. Did these rapes not take place in 2012? The number was more or less the same,” he said.
At the same time, if cases of false reporting emerge during investigations, they should be rejected, he said.
India’s changing politics
Speaking about the end of dynastic politics in the country, M.L. Khattar said it is happening because of India’s democracy.
People elect their representatives depending on what the party and the individuals offer, not the dynasty, he said.
“During the Lok Sabha (elections), nationalism was a major issue, and everyone is happy with the decision on Article 370. When these things happen, no one asks if there’s a slump in the automobile industry or real estate,” said Khattar.
Citing the example of how the nation remained glued to television late on 7 September to follow the journey of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, Khattar said it showed the entire country was united.
“When the tragedy occurred, everyone was unhappy. But the entire country being unhappy, happy and concerned at the same time is an asset… Earlier no one did this, Congress didn’t do it. But we have.”
Responding to criticism over the ‘baba politics’ in his state, M.L. Khattar said his government has not patronised anyone in the past five years, but it may have been done in the past by the opposition or his own party members.
“I haven’t done any such thing in the last five years. Maybe our people did. I met Baba Ram Rahim (Singh) in Karnal. He said we can work for Swachhta Abhiyan. As it was for a good cause, a date was fixed and we shared the stage also. He did a lot of good work. After that we haven’t met.”
‘Auto sector slump cyclical, will bounce back in 6 months’
Terming the slump in the automobile sector cyclical in nature, Khattar tried to downplay the industry’s woes saying the situation would normalise in six months.
“Depending on the need of the people, there will be a demand for certain things. If temporarily we will encourage some products it will face a problem later,” said Khattar.
“See the real estate sector. There was a created hike in properties whereas in reality the trading of properties was taking place between leaders not consumers. So naturally 40 per cent prices came down later but now things have stabilised.”
Pointing out that the automobile industry is going through the same phase, he said: “Even the auto market is under pressure currently. I spoke to (Maruti Suzuki Ltd chairman) R.C. Bhargava and he told me that after 5-6 years there’s always a slump when there’s a lot of stock and the purchasing capacity of people is less, maybe due to taxes. So, this slump will stay for six months and things will improve after that.”
A sharp fall in consumer demand, especially in rural areas, as well as tightened financing conditions that have squeezed lending by non-banking finance companies, have resulted in a record drop in auto sales over the last few months.
The figure in July fell to a two-decade low — contracting by nearly 19 per cent — across most segments, and the company numbers coming in for August across firms indicate the situation has worsened.
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That means he is unable to take action against Robert Vadra? Now there are no riots in the country because those who used to instigate riots are ruling now. No chance to create riots. But lynching can continue with the blessing of the rulers.
After disappear of Nehru Dynasty Party and ruled 70 years, Voters thrown and chosen BJP as an alternative.
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