Govt. can’t hide behind the valour of our armed forces: Sachin Pilot

Congress leader says Prime Minister Modi should talk about the promises made by the BJP and delivered by it

April 10, 2019 10:40 pm | Updated 10:49 pm IST

Sachin Pilot.

Sachin Pilot.

The current BJP-led government should not hide behind the valour and sacrifices of the country’s armed forces as a curtain to conceal its failures, says Deputy Chief Minister of RajasthanSachin Pilot . He also speaks on the Congress’s prospects in the southern States. Excerpts:

How do you see the Congress’s chances in the southern States where the party has weakened in the past 10 years?

I don’t think that’s true. In the last elections, the narrative was totally different. It was more of propaganda and people believed in certain promises. However, this time the wave of change is visible. People realise that these elections are special.

In States like Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana, we will do better than expected. The fact that Mr. Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad also tells you that Congress has a commitment to southern States. We connect with the south better than anyone else. Congress considers everyone as equal partners. The current government has some bias against south India.

Will Mr. Modi gain in north India if the BJP has poor chances of improving its strength in the south?

Mr. Modi peaked in 2014 but that chance is wasted and their [the BJP government’s] performance in several sectors is unimpressive and negligible. Southern States will not accept the thinking, the ideology of the BJP, and the northern States, where they performed well, will not be the same this time.

The change will happen in the Hindi heartland where BJP was thought to be invincible. We wrested three States — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — from it just a few months ago. Despite the media propaganda, money power and the resources they deployed to create the hype, south India will remain a zero score for BJP.

You say the BJP is losing in the north as well. Will Balakot help revive its fortunes?

The military action on borders will happen irrespective of the governments. They are Indian soldiers and will protect our country come what may. Whoever is the Prime Minister and whichever is the government will give the same befitting reply to the enemy forces, and people understand this. So BJP’s game plan to evoke emotions using soldiers will not help it.

Why must the current government hide behind the valour and sacrifices of our armed forces who belong to the country? They are our pride. No one can threaten India and get away. We are all united in that aspect but the government uses that as a curtain and hides behind it to cover the failures.

Elections are fought on the performance of the government and promises made and delivered. If you look at Mr. Modi all his slogans have remained slogans whether it is Swachh India, Make in India, Startup India, doubling farmers income and getting black money from abroad and depositing ₹15 lakh in everyone’s account.

Now the country faces the highest unemployment rate in its independent history. You can’t keep on accusing the previous governments for your failures. The real issues are being relegated to the background.

The Congress seems to be doing little to counter that narrative...

Congress never took political advantage of such issues. Indira Gandhi got more than a lakh Pakistan soldiers captive and yet she never claimed it as a big victory. Even when Parliament was attacked when Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was PM, then Leader of Opposition, Sonia Gandhi, stood behind him solidly. That’s the kind of statesmanship one has to show.

People understand all this and will not believe BJP blindly. We can’t take credit for every achievement. Taking credit is acceptable but hiding behind them to block your failures is objectionable. Mr. Modi says he connected thousands of villages with electricity but who connected lakhs of houses with power earlier.

So, people will see through such claims.

Why is the counter from the Congress not very strong?

Previous Congress governments have achieved much bigger but never clamoured for publicity. Somehow, the media is not able to speak out and explain the truth. The real issues like farmers’ suicides and youngsters looking for jobs are nowhere in discussion in the media. Mr. Manmohan Singh’s government had a sustained programme for employment generation across the sections for 10 years through MGNREGA. Mr. Modi wanted to kill it but could not do so.

Has the media been unfair to the Congress?

Perhaps, certain compulsions have forced them to highlight only one narrative. We believe in transparency in media. This will be a passing phase and media will have more freedom. We can’t have propaganda channels, India is not a country like North Korea.

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