'No court directive to the State government'

Published : May 26, 2001 00:00 IST

Interview with Chief Minister Rajnath Singh.

In interview to Purnima S. Tripathi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh presents the State government's version of why it did not issue a fresh notification transferring the Babri Masjid demolition case to the Central Bureau of Investigation. According to him, there was no directive in this regard from the High Court to the State government. Rajnath Singh also speaks about his plans to erect at Sarnath a Buddha statue "taller than the Bamiyan Buddha" as a "fitting reply" to the Taliban, which destroyed the ancient images in Afganistan. Experts from the interview:

The Allahabad High Court dropped charges against L.K. Advani and others on February 12 because of a technical snag. The court had said that the snag was "easily curable" by the State government by issuing a fresh notification within three months. Why did the government not issue a fresh notification?

As far as I remember there was no order to us from the High Court in this regard. Besides, if the court thought there was any violation of its order, it would take cognizance of the matter on its own. Why should the Opposition be worried about it? After all, this is a sensitive matter. It is already in court and so let the court decide. The State government has no role whatsover in this matter. The entire controversy is raised by the Opposition parties who want to politicise the Ram Janmabhoomi issue because elections are coming.

But is it not true that the State government deliberately failed to issue a fresh notification, allowing the Special CBI court to drop charges against Advani and others?

The charges against Advani and others have been dropped because the then State government issued a faulty notification. But it is not our responsibility because the State was under President's Rule then and it is the Congress which is responsible for this fault. Why should we rectify an error which we did not commit? Besides, the CBI is the prosecutor in this case. So why should we issue a fresh notification without a request from the CBI?

Do you mean to say that there has been no request from the CBI so far?

There has been no request from the CBI so far. But let me assure you, we will abide by the court order and do everything that the court tells us to do in this case. We are also having the matter examined from all legal angles.

Irrespective of this, the delay in issuing of fresh notification has made the Special CBI court drop charges against Advani and others. This is as good as absolving them of all responsibility in the demolition. Do you think it is right?

No comments.

When are the Assembly elections going to be held in Uttar Pradesh?

Any day after March 26, 2002. We have no reason to advance the schedule.

What will be your slogan for the elections?

No slogans, only performance. We believe in proving our worth to the people.

What will be the dominant issues in the elections?

The exemplary performance of the State and Central governments. The Prime Minister is also doing very well. The people will see the reality and re-elect us.

Will the BJP come back to power?

Definitely. The BJP will lead the next government because the people's perception about us has changed. Farmers are happy in U.P., there has been record procurement of paddy and wheat and sugarcane farmers are paid their dues regularly. Industrialists are making a beeline to the State, thousands of crores of investment is in the pipeline. Even industries that remained closed for years are being revived. For example, the cement factories at Dala, Churk and Chunar, which were lying closed are being privatised and revived. The Birla group has agreed to revive them. We are getting messages from NRIs (non-resident Indians) offering to invest in the State. There were messages from NRIs offering funds to instal a large statue of the Buddha at Sarnath after the Bamiyan Buddha was blasted by the Taliban.

Are you going to take up the Buddha project?

Yes, because we believe in creation, not in destruction. Vidhwans ka jawaab srijan se denge (Our reply to destruction is creation). The Sarnath Buddha will be one foot taller than the Bamiyan Buddha. The project would cost around Rs.10 crores and the government will bear the cost. It will be inaugurated sometime in end-June or July. We want the Dalai Lama to lay the foundation stone.

What other plans do you have for the State?

At present I am concentrating on cutting down wasteful government expenditure. I intend to save Rs.300 crores this way in one year. One step which I have already taken is reducing the number of shadows and security guards to politicians. Their number has been reduced from 9,000 to 2,000 now and the State will save Rs.110 crores. I am going to wage an all-out war against corruption, nobody will be spared.

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