People will say Bharat Mata ki Jai if they’re well-fed: Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena MP in Rajya Sabha Sanjay Raut speaks to The Indian Express on the prevailing drought condition

Written by Shalini Nair | New Delhi | Published: April 28, 2016 2:09:24 am
Raut has been given an opportunity to explain his stance before 1 pm on May 11, failing which the EC will take a decision without further reference to him. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut

Will yet another discussion on drought alleviate the ground situation?

Your party is part of the coalition government in Maharastra which is one of the worst affected.

Every session, we have the same discussion on drought and water shortage, and the minister gives the same reply to the same questions. This is not about which party is running the state government. In Madhya Pradesh, it is a BJP government that is in power. We have been in power for two years while the Congress has been there for 50 years. We are all responsible for bringing our people to this state of being without food or water.

In your Saamana editorial, you have said Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis is insisting that people say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ to deflect attention from drought, a point you raised in the Rajya Sabha also.

This has nothing to do with religion, but the fact that people are so badly affected by drought that they are forced to pull their children out of schools, or have to call off their children’s weddings.

Irrespective of religion or caste, people will say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ if they are well fed. It is anti-national to reduce 33 crore people to a state of starvation and poverty.

You said that a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ is possible only with a ‘Sukha-mukt Bharat’.

Prior to elections, Narendra Modi had promised a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’. We achieved that in the general elections. All this poverty, drought and unemployment is the legacy of the Congress. The country will not be free of Congress until we get rid of all these.

You suggested that PM Modi should visit Bundelkhand and Marathwada. How will this help?

We keep on asking for a financial package to mitigate the effects of drought in Maharashtra. Our PM frequently goes on foreign trips, he tours everywhere, from Assam and West Bengal to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, for election rallies. He should now travel to Bundelkhand and Marathwada and get a sense of the pain and anger of those suffering. Once he does that, we won’t have to ask for any money, he will open up his treasury on his own.

You mentioned that NREGA is doing badly. Maharashtra has been the worst performer in the last fiscal.

I was referring to a recent statement by SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharaya where she said that farmers should look for sources of income beyond farming. It is easy to make statements like that, but NREGA has not provided them the jobs they need. SBI lets someone like Vijay Mallya go scot free but the minute a farmer defaults, these banks seize their property.

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