Shri Abhishek Manu Singhvi
Shri Abhishek Manu Singhvi said there are those who talk, there are those who do action not only in the case of economic growth, not only in the case of rights based legislations, not only in the case from RTI to MNREGA to Food Security and many more like that, in the area of agriculture also the Congress-led UPA holds its head high. You have already heard and read the Congress Vice President Shri Rahul Gandhi’s address on the larger issue of farming agriculture - the ‘krishi kshetra’. I am not going to repeat that but I am going to ask a question, please read the context of what he said. Please tell me in concrete terms which of these things apart from speeches and rhetoric the BJP or Mr. Modi can show whether in Gujarat or out of Gujarat. So that is as far as what Mr. Rahul Gandhi has spoken about. Concrete details about the decentralization, agriculture, assistance to farmers, ‘Panchayati Raj’, women at the rural level and so on and so forth. Just to add to the theme, not to repeat at all because repetition will dilute, just note 3 or 4 points - Agricultural credit has increased seven times during the UPA tenure for the last ten years or just less than ten years i.e. 700%. 6.5 crore farmers have come into the financing cycle by banks in one year 2012-13. Thirdly, 11 crore i.e. 110 million ‘Kisan credit cards’ have been issued. It is not only issue of credit card to you; it is a question of bringing you within the financial mould of the economy. You and I in the urban area are used to it but to have a ‘kisan credit card’ brings you into the financial cycle, it is inclusiveness. Fourthly, the minimum support price has not only increased continuously to farmers during the UPA but more importantly it has led to a seven fold increase in exports of agricultural products again 700% during UPA tenure and last but not the least, perhaps the most important, I am talking of agriculture, the subject on which Shri Rahul Gandhi spoke in great length – agricultural growth along with the allied related growth has been going up continuously from 2.5% to 3.7% let me tell you 3.7% is a lot in agricultural growth. It used to be even in a single digit from the 10th Plan to 11th Plan and the current year i.e. 2013-14 on which all figures are there, 4.6% is expected, so most of the year is over and the figures are in.
To a question whether the Congress party is going to give credit to UPA’s Agriculture Minister Shri Sharad Pawar for the growth in the agricultural sector, Shri Singhvi said we would like to give credit to all the partners of the UPA but we will not give credit to those who are there to loot the credit only. They claim that the BJP brought the computer age in this country. Definitely UPA is definitely a collective effort and our alliance is there in the State and also in the centre, why should we escape from that.
To a question on the reaction of the Congress party that LJP is going with BJP, Shri Singhvi said let me make it clear that there is every attempt to make the broader spectrum effective, non-communal public interest, national interest coalition with the UPA and all other like-minded parties within the boundaries of the philosophy which bind us and let me make it also clear that there is no question of reacting to speculation to your information or to your advise until the final decision is there before you. You cannot have a pre-final, final decision. So please have patience, all I can say is that it has happened before in many elections and it will happen this time. The broader spectrum effective alliance will be made.
On another question as to what is the Congress party’s standing in Bihar, Shri Singhvi said you are asking a question which is premature. You have only to have a little more patience and you will have the result in a few days.
To a question related to agricultural growth when compared to numbers of farmers committing suicide in Vidarbha and the rising prices of the vegetables etc., Shri Singhvi said you are entitled to always see glass full empty or three quarters empty. We have told you the various facets which make the glass three quarters full. I think it is important to build on three quarters full to eliminate negativity which is of course there, to eliminate poverty which is of course there but to constantly cry about negatives and not see the improvement is an insult to India, it is an insult to our self confidence.
On the question of the reaction of the Congress party on the fact that the RJD has split, Shri Singhvi said, as I told you, you start fighting semi-final a pre-final, comments before the final decision, these things will happen. It is not the first time the UPA or broad spectrum is fighting either at the centre or in Bihar. I think you muddy the water if you speak in front of cameras about ongoing very serious negotiations. I also think several names you are taking; I am not pointing to anyone, realize what is in the public and national interest and what is the expectation of their respective electorates about the philosophy which bind us and do not bind them with several other parties.
On the question of the reaction of the Congress party over the fact that r. Rao of TRS has said that most of the section of the TRS do not want merger with the congress party but wants an alliance, Shri Singhvi said that just as in Bihar and in Andhra Pradesh again a broader spectrum political alliance in whatever form will emerge which will be directly in three interests - national, public and Congress party UPA’s interest and you will see that happening and you will see that happening in a very comprehensive manner.
To a question whether the congress party is interested in President’ rule or else, Shri Singhvi said politics and governance does not tolerate a vacuum. Even as we speak, whether you call it Caretaker or you call it President’s rule or you call it a new government, governance goes on. Please be clear on that. Secondly, we have elections happening shortly, you are not talking of any long gaps. Whatever is appropriate in accordance with the constitutional letter and spirit will be done and that will apply whether it is Andhra Pradesh or whether it Delhi or elsewhere.
On another question on Arvind Kejriwal alleging Shri Rahul Gandhi that he uses the chopper of Shri Mukesh Ambani, Shri Singhvi said those who have repeatedly substituted negativism, the politics of allegations and counter-allegations as a substitute for governance will continue to do this because the only way they can run away from governance is to create sensationalism by pointless allegations because it is easy to attack but not to be constructive because it is impossible for them to build. Secondly, this is what they will have to answer to the electorate who wants governance and not the politics of negativism or allegations and counter-allegations. Thirdly, allegations without proof are nothing but puffed air. I could also create some puffing by asking you which I don’t need to ask as to how significant member of the AAP have worked for channel for so long which are significantly held by investment purposes by Shri Mukesh Ambani. Have the helicopter bills produced to you and which services have been produced before you to create any substance for ridiculous allegations. So I think responsible governance, responsible electorates and responsible media – all required as far as political parties are concerned are reasonable, restraint and responsible - three ‘R’ letters which AAP does not understand. Shri Singhvi further said where is the link, where is the material, where is the bill.
On the question of the reaction of the Congress party on BJP accusing that the Congress party has given in to pressure of Italian government in the case of Italian marines, Shri Singhvi said BJP is forever tilting windmills. Does it mean that the Supreme Court has given in to the government of Italy; you should ask them whether the trial court has given in or whether several statutes have given in to the government of Italy. Why should we answer such questions? It is something which is monitored minute by minute in pending proceedings in the Supreme Court.
On the question of the Congress party’s stand on the gas pricing issue, Shri Singhvi said the Congress party decision is not required in a case where more than three or four weeks ago, after deliberations over 6 months to a year, the Cabinet of India – the UPA government’s cabinet, took a decision which was then proclaimed through the relevant Minister in public domain and that decision stands today. There is no question of commenting on that decision or judging that decision every two weeks before the media merely because Mr. Kejriwal’s party makes personal allegations without one iota of evidence. Shri Singhvi further said unlike some others, we believe that the Cabinet of India i.e. UPA government which has ruled for 10 years when they take decision, they take it for national interest.