Defending the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to invoke the National Security Act (NSA) against those involved in cow slaughter and cow smuggling, U.P. Deputy Chief Minister and State BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya tells The Hindu that it is aimed at “instilling fear in the hearts of such people”.
During a trip to Bihar recently, you challenged Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to hold snap polls in his State. He said he was ready to do so but also dared you to hold simultaneous polls in U.P.
He already got a taste of the BJP’s strength in the 2017 U.P. election. He toured U.P. with full force and had come here with the sole motive of stopping the BJP. But he had to return to Bihar with failure. The current government that Nitish Kumarji is running in Bihar is more unsuccessful than the previous Akhilesh Yadav government in U.P. The people are not in a mood to bear them any more. If elections are held today in Bihar, the results will be as exciting as that were in U.P.
What has your government accomplished in U.P. so far? You are nearing 100 days of power. Your top three achievements.
Why top three, why not top six? The most important, for the party as well as the State, is the ₹36,000 crore in loan waiver to 86 lakh farmers. Then, providing 18-hour power supply in villages, 20-hour in tehsils and 24-hour supply to district headquarters. We purchased more wheat in 100 days than what Akhilesh Yadav achieved in five years. We shut down illegal slaughterhouses. Our government is poor-centric, youth-centric, farmer-centric and sensitive to women. Today, criminals are terrified, they know that either they will have to give up crime or leave U.P..
Despite your claims, we have still had many incidents of crime, like the Jewar gang rape-murder and cases where police personnel are being beaten up.
I’m not saying that crimes have come to a 100% stop. But today criminals are not getting political patronage or support from the ruling party in any form. The police have been given a free hand. Due to this, the criminal is in fear.
So you are saying that law and order has improved after the BJP came to power?
But then why are such incidents still being reported?
Incidents will happen and you will obviously report them. But you go around and ask 100 people — go as a commoner not as a journalist — whether they feel secure or insecure after the BJP government was formed. Their answer will explain it all. The Samajwadi Party government was synonymous with lawlessness. Land grabbing was considered the special right of any SP neta.
All that is gone now?
Definitely. A fear has been created. Be it for the criminal or the corrupt. I’m not saying that all crime and corruption have come to an end but there is a fear that if you do wrong, nobody can save you.
You are also talking a lot on checking cow slaughter.
There’s no special need to be strict on the issue of cow slaughter. A stringent law already exists in U.P.. After coming to power, our government has merely implemented it.
So why have you now decided to invoke the National Security Act in cow slaughter cases?
If the NSA is lodged against somebody who smuggles or slaughters cow/cow progeny, I feel that will create fear in another person who is planning to do it. The government’s thought behind invoking the NSA in such crimes is to instil fear in the hearts of those who work in this sector that if such incidents happen, harsh action will follow.
Isn’t there a scope for its misuse? People can be booked and harassed…
Not at all. How can it be misused? If anyone kills a cow and evidence is found against the person, only then the NSA will be invoked. It is not invoked on the first day. I have full hope that in U.P. nobody will dare take a knife close to a cow’s throat…
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced that the farm loan waiver promised by the government will be implemented after State budget. Opposition parties are criticising you for not even having started the process.
Those who are saying it are not well-wishers of farmers. They are just pretending to be well-wishers and making the occasional trip to Mandsaur or Saharanpur. Who claims to be really pained has gone on a holiday to his maternal grandmother’s house.
But why is the process of farm loan waiver delayed?
There is no delay. It will be processed when the budget is brought… Akhilesh Yadav did not leave behind separate funds for us. We will have to take it from the budget
Do you see any impact of the farmers’ protests in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in U.P.?
Those seem Congress mischief to me. The Opposition parties have no issues against either our State governments or the Centre. The Opposition parties are trying to trigger discord and chaos to defame the government. But instead of getting any benefits, they have been unsuccessful as the truth is exposed to the people.
Some BJP leaders have expressed concern that that Hindu Yuva Vahini [outfit founded by Yogi Adityanath] is growing too fast and that its members have got bolder after Yogi Adityanath was made CM. Is the HYV posing a challenge to the BJP government?
Not at all. The HYV is not a BJP organisation. Hundreds of such organisations are running in the State and country. The HYV is one of them… it’s a separate outfit. The BJP has its own organisation at every booth level. It has its own strength, on the basis of which we won the 2014 Lok Sabha election, 2017 Vidhan Sabha election, and hope to secure 80 out of 80 seats in U.P. in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.