NEW DELHI: "Not one inch of land acquired under the proposed new law will be used to favour any company," BJP president Amit Shah told TOI in an exclusive interview on the eve of the first anniversary of Modi government.
On an issue which the opposition has picked up to dub the Modi government as being "pro-rich" and "pro-coroprates", Shah strenuously stressed that the "land bill is purely aimed at ensuring that development reaches villages. Roads, railways and defence production units will be set up. Land will be acquired only for projects which will be create jobs. This is a win-win bill and a friend of the farmers."
Shah said there has been not a single case of corruption during the first year of the NDA government, demonstrating the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership. Shah contrasted Modi government's "clean slate" with the scams under UPA. To prove his point, he compared UPA's "arbitrary allocation of natural resources to select corporates" to the "transparent mechanisms" followed by the Modi government.
On the provocative acts of Hindutva hotheads, he agreed that such statements were unnecessary and errant MPs have to be dealt with. He, however, emphasized that a government needs to be judged on the basis of its actions and the pronouncements of its leader.
Asked about the Opposition's success in blocking the land acquisition and GST bills, Shah said the BJP did not want to use investigative agencies to muster support in Parliament. "I know the way CBI was used during the Congress regime to manufacture a majority in Rajya Sabha... but we will not do that ever. Our approach towards the opposition is symbolised by our bold push for fiscal federalism which will benefit all the state governments irrespective of who is in power."
The BJP chief rebutted former cabinet minister Arun Shourie's criticism of a "troika" of the PM, Arun Jaitley and himself having concentrated all the powers. He said while the PMO's authority has been restored under Modi, ministers have the freedom to act on their own.
The BJP chief did not agree with the view that post its stunning victory in LS polls, the party has not been effective in putting across its message to people. "The party that received 17 crore votes, the party that managed to enlist 10 crore members, I believe that we have been able to send our message to the people and convince them." he said.
Speaking on government's efforts to reduce corruption, Shah said, "In the past 10 years, there have been 73 scams and Rs 12 lakh crore have been siphoned off. But in the past one year, not even the opposition has been able to level any charges of corruption. I treat this as a very important achievement of the government."
He said the Modi government is implementing decisions in the spirit of 'Team India'.
"I want to say that there was a time when a government was run for 10 years when every person was a PM of his department and the PM was not even recognised as PM," the BJP chief said. "The PMO's stature has been restored and the ministers are working independently and taking decisions and there is an acceleration in decision-making," he said.
Emphasising that the Modi government will not deviate from its focus on governance, Shah said, "The government runs on policies and what it does and the citizens have faith in what the government's leader says. I agree that such statements (by Hindutva radicals) should not be made ... but even if two or three MPs have made such statements there is no change in the ground realities. The government and the party have dealt elements in a tough manner and we have issued notices to them," Shah said.