Amid the ongoing marathon national election, NDTV's Prannoy Roy spoke to Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and new Congress candidate Shatrughan Sinha.
Here are the highlights from Prannoy Roy's interviews with Shatrughan Sinha and Sushil Modi:
Joining Congress a mistake or best decision?
With due respect to our great leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayi, Nanaji Deshmukh, LK Advani, who brought me into the BJP and groomed me, I would say that I have taken the right decision. I have gone into the right direction and a better direction.
Would Atal Bihari Vajpayee have been proud of his decision?
I am sure (he would be). He is a father figure. Whatever I could do in my life, I have learnt from these stalwarts. Today, if they were there, they would be surprised. When I came and joined the new direction, the better direction, I took Advaniji's blessings. He almost had tears in his eyes, but he didn't stop me from joining.
What's the difference between Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
Difference between a democracy during that time and the dictatorship presently. People, who wonder about my exit, they should also wonder about what happened to our friend, philosopher, guide, guru Advaniji ultimately, what treatment did they give to our father figure Atal Bihari Vajpayee, how they treated Jaswant Singh. Where is Arun Shourie? What happened to our statesman Yashwant Sinha? He had no option but to leave the party. So, in my case, I took the right decision at the right time.
I am grateful to my Congress family. The Congress family is doing so well. Besides it is a family of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Madam Gandhi (Sonia Gandhi) and Rajiv Gandhi.
Difference between PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi?
I am not working under anybody, I am working with the party. The party is my constitution. Whatever the party says, whatever I can do in the best of my capacity and capability, I shall do it and I will be very happy to do it. Rahul Gandhi is a youth icon today. No matter whoever is calling him pappu, he has proved once and for all that he is not pappu. But everybody knows who is feku. Within one year of taking over as the president of Congress, he was able to win three states. He also fulfilled all the promises to the farmers in states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Has the Balakot strike made a difference in this election?
Not really! every Indian is a nationalist. They are all patriotic. They (BJP) try to divert attention. In a previous meeting, I said that our Prime Minister believes in the shoot-and scoot-policy. When we ask him about unemployment, he talks about Pulwama terror attack.
Sushil Kumar Modi
- Unemployment is not an issue in Bihar. If every village now has electricity, that means jobs have been created.
- Standing up for Vande Mataram is not an issue. Many times even we don't stand up for Vande Mataram. (But) if Vande Mataram plays at the concluding session of parliament, whether it's Muslim league, the MIM, or the Janata Dal, each and everybody stands.
- Not just liquor, I am also of the opinion that smoking should be banned too.
- 2019 has a much bigger wave than 2014.
- In the 2015 assembly elections we noticed that BJP didn't perform as well so we felt we needed other partners.
- The biggest applause we get is when we mention the (Balakot) airstrikes.
- There is no anger among people. It is only in the media.
- This is the first election where price rise is not an issue.
- In terms of jobs, we have given thousands of engineers jobs, in Bihar. Public Service Commission, there are so many jobs in the subordinate commission, but jobs is a never-ending issue.
- Whether you want diesel, any subsidy, you don't have to go down to the block office.
- Tejashwi Yadav has only been to one meeting among 5 called by Rahul Gandhi.
- They are raising only 5 issues in Bihar: 'We will put an end to reservation', 'The constitution is in danger', 'Lalu Prasad has been trapped', 'We will free Lalu Prasad' and 'They let Vijay Mallya scoot'.
- Polls should be held before March-April or after September.