Himachal Pradesh BJP president Satpal Singh Satti will soon make way for a new face to take charge. In Delhi to make courtesy calls on senior party leaders, he spoke to The Indian Express on a range of issues. Edited excerpts:
Your eight-year term is coming to an end. What is your biggest achievement?
We are not a family party; we are a party where collective leadership works. So there is no question of my biggest achievement. But, yes, during the last eight years, we fought two Lok Sabbha elections and won all the four seats on both the occasions. We also won one Assembly election. We won Shimla municipal corporation election after Independence for the first time.
You got Election Commission notice in the Lok Sabha election last year. Any regrets?
The media ran the video for which I got the notice. I was telling my party workers to be respectful towards the leaders of our rival parties. To illustrate my point, I was reading a Facebook post on Rahul Gandhi. I just read half a sentence, and the media ran that half sentence. They reported half truth. I have no regrets.
How was your experience working with senior leaders in the state?
It was nice working with (former chief minister) Prem Kumar Dhumal, (former chief minister) Shanta Kumar, (BJP working president) Jagat Prakash Nadda and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. They were very cooperative. We took collective decisions. Everything was done in a democratic process.
There was a viral video episode involving BJP leader Ravinder Ravi, which cast aspersions on the party. There were some corruption charges.
The matter has been sorted out. Leaders should be careful. Their actions can harm the party.
What do you think of the Congress in the state?
Na niti hai, na neta hai (Neither there is a strategy nor is there a leader). Everyone wants to become the leader. They keep telling lies about our government to mislead the people.
Recently, an investors’ meet was held in the state. The Congress called it a wasteful expenditure.
It was a first attempt. Himachal Pradesh is a consumer state. The educated youth go out for jobs. CM (Jai Ram Thakur) visited a few states and countries to woo investment, and organised an investors’ meet. In two months after the meet, a ground-breaking ceremony was held in which projects worth more than Rs 13,000 crore took off. The ceremony was held in December — soon after the celebrations to mark two years of the state government. Even (BJP president) Amit Shah was in attendance. The Congress is misleading. It ruled the state for 55 years, but brought no investment to the state.
On roads, the Congress alleges you took everyone for a ride, literally.
Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced 59 National Highways for the state. Then there was Congress government in the state. They claimed they had no money for hiring a consultant for making estimates and preparing DPRs (Detailed Project Reports). Gadkari promised them to pay for the consultant as well. But things didn’t move. Right now work on 40 DPRs is underway. Work on Parwanoo-Shimla National Highway and Swarghat-Manali four-lane project is in progress.
There is so much unrest on campuses these days. What do you have to say?
This is all a creation of pseudo-secularists and lampat (dissolute) intellectuals. These are all voices of treason. Kashmir kept burning for such a long period and five lakh minorities were evicted from Kashmir, but no one went there. Pulwama attack (on a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel) happened, no one went there. If something happens at JNU, everyone goes there. Even Deepika (Padukone) rushes in.
The Citizenship Amendment Act has stirred a controversy.
It was (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s right decision. Congress and opposition parties are misleading. The Act gives citizenship to persecuted minorities; it doesn’t snatch citizenship of anyone. Minorities are not safe in Pakistan. (Pakistani cricketer) Danish Kaneria had shared his ordeal. Deepika (Padukone) should also visit Danish in Pakistan and see the reality for herself.
What is your view on JNU violence?
JNU is a muftkhoron ka adda. The fee hike is justified. Anti-national slogans are raised there. Iske naam mein khot hai (there is something wrong in its name). Its name should be changed to Sardar Bhagat Singh University. Things will automatically be under control then.
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