Thursday, June, 13,2024

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Amit Shah, a powerful HM. This govt has brought North-East back in mainstream: Governor Kataria

Governor of Assam Gulab Chand Kataria, in a candid and serious conversation with Dr Jagdeesh Chandra — CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Bharat24-Vision of New India and First India; CMD, First India News, shares the work ethic of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and how he approached the North-East issue. Governor Kataria also throws light on how he received a phone call from PM Modi, prior to the Gubernatorial assignment, who enquired about his well being but did not hint that he would be made Governor; How RSS’ pracharaks gave literally everything, including their lives, to keep North-East united with India, at a time when insurgency was at its peak. Excerpts… (Part II)

  • And when did you first meet Home Minister Amit Shah?
    Gulab Chand Kataria: I have met him several times. In the past also, I have met him. We both were accused in the Sohrabuddin Case. Action in that matter happened before and I was called in the second round and after I was interrogated, although there were no evidences against me, yet I had to go through the court processes for two and a half years, and during those times too I met him. I was Home Minister in Rajasthan and he was Home Minister in Gujarat. I tried to change the old laws that were being used since 1861, and brought a law and for that, we called him also so that just like our officers, if he too wanted to give some suggestions which we could include. We used to meet in party programmes. He used to work in various programmes and I too used to work in the border regions, so we met several times.
  • How is he as a Home Minister?
    As a powerful Home Minister, if I was called I went, but I never went if I was not called. I have never had the habit of going to places, rather I keep to myself and my work. For example, we met in Mumbai during training and all the ministers would sit together and hold discussions, so we met there too. His (Amit Shah) working style is dynamic and decisive. See, the day I heard him speak on the Article 370 debate, and the manner in which he put forward his arguments across and handled the subject with the finesse and the maturity and sincerity with which he brought the subject first in Rajya Sabha and got it passed there, where we did not have a majority and after that he got it passed in the Lok Sabha, an issue on which Jan Sangh was formed with the slogan ‘Jaha Hue Balidan Mukherjee, Wo Kashmir Hamara Hai’, and the work he has done in removing Article 370 and 35 (A), in actuality, the old leaders, who were born for that mission only, they felt that yes, the dream that we had envisioned and what the organisation had thought of, that has been achieved by them.
  • Similar is the Assam and Arunachal border dispute that was 50 years old, has also been solved.
    Definitely. I have visited this region several times after this government came to power. If we used to travel during night time, we would be stopped that it is not safe to travel at night. There were organisations like ULFA and others and there was disturbance and tension here. Several of our people left these areas and returned to Rajasthan as working was difficult here and people were being tortured. In such a scenario, after this government came to power, the manner in which North-East region has been strengthened and talks were held with various groups to establish peace and these groups were satisfied, and an attempt was made to connect them with the main stream and along with connecting with main stream, people were connected with jobs & development as well and thus, this is the same area which has become peaceful, although minor incidents still take place, but still now peace prevails in at least 80 or 90 % of the region.
  • RSS has worked a lot in this area.
    Truth be told, the organisation with which I have been connected, people from that Sangathan, have sacrificed their lives here. Several of the Sangh’s Pracharaks have been murdered here and several people have been kidnapped whose whereabouts are unknown till date. Such people, who were natives of other places, and they came here and displayed courage and they were sent here, who started working through the ‘Ekal Vidhyalaya’, ‘Vidhyarthi Parishad’. In 1996, Vidhyarthi Parishad students used to visit Rajasthan and stay in homes in our state and our children used to come here (North-East) and stay with people here. So, the fact is that the various organisations of RSS have given their sacrifices in order to keep this region connected and united with India. And whoever was sent here, they never said no that they will not work in this region. Rather, they took on the responsibility gladly.
  • Did you meet Mohan Bhagwat on this issue?
    I met Bhagwat ji several times. I have met him in Sangh’s ‘Shiksha Varg’ and have shared stage with him in programmes, where we have had discussions as well. I keep meeting him in various programmes of Sangh and in personal capacity too I meet him. When he was Sarkaryawah, he conducted the ‘bhoomi pujan’ of Pratap Gaurav Kendra with us and its public dedication was also done by us. So in a way, I have been connected with the Sangh for years and after observing the various Pracharaks of Sangh, I felt that the person, who has been a gold medallist in Engineering and other studies, and such a person has left his home and is roaming about for working in the society and is making all the efforts to make this ideology get a foothold, so we also tried to do that while living a domestic life.
  • What is this passion that the Pracharaks sacrificed their lives?
    The reason behind it was that the situation that were arising in the nation due to appeasement and in a way, the manner in which Hindus had to be defamed in their own nation, people who came in from Pakistan, were facing extreme difficulties an there was no one to handle them or to give them security when the agreement was that people will have to be kept in utmost regard. And the population of Hindus which stood at about 23% during division of the nation, that has not come down to about two percent, and many such incidents, if one reads it, then it becomes clear that merely to get votes, we broke our ‘maryada’ and the Sangh was stressing continuously that the nation will be developed only through development of people and not merely through making roads etc. These pracharaks worked on that idea and the epitome of life’s purpose that these individuals then realised, they lived on footpath on an empty stomach & they still worked. There was Laxman Singhji in my area who worked as ‘Vibhag Pracharak’, he was a Rajput and obviously he had immense self-respect and I was amazed that he used to stay hungry for days altogether. If someone would not invite him or take him with them to have a meal, he would never go to have food. And yet, we never saw any difficulty or worry about the issue on his face. We used to wonder what type of people are working and with what commitment to make this organisation blossom. And so, I tried to learn from them and with them as well.
  • I have heard that your appointment as Governor of Assam was surprising and unexpected for you. Who told you about this for the first time?
    Actually, I received a phone call from Prime Minister from a private number. I had just had a bath and the phone rang. I usually answer every call and I answered, so the person on call, told me that PM Sahib would speak with me. I thought if something happened in the Assembly or if we did not put across something properly, since the Assembly session was going on, so I was clueless of what the matter was that PM wanted to speak with me. So he came on call and asked me how I was doing. I said I am alright, he then asked if I am keeping alright and if everything was okay in life. I answered in affirmative. He then said alright, we will see. So that is the entire talk that happened and then a few days later, the announcement was made. On the day of announcement, I had just taken a bath and I had no idea that I have been appointed as Governor. I received many phone calls just then. Our Assembly Speaker Dr CP Joshi called me and congratulated me. I enquired as to what was the occasion for the congratulations, and he said that I have been appointed as Governor. So I told him that I do not have any formal information about the appointment and then he showed me the official appointment letter which the President had signed.
  • You were going to Dausa in PM’s meeting and returned?
    I felt that since I was now on a Constitutional position, so to keep the honour of that Constitutional post, although I had not taken oath of office, but still I felt that now I should not be on a stage of a political party as it would not be the right thing to do.
  • When your appointment was announced, every leader right from Vasundhara ji praised you.
    I have always focussed on work. I have had difference of opinion, but I have never had any grudge in my heart. I have worked with Bhairon Singh ji and with Vasundhara ji as well. Due to my stubborn nature, someone may have felt bad or have been angry with me for few moments, but owing to my work and behaviour, no one would be angry or miffed with me for a long time.
  • Rajendra Rathore had jokingly said that now you are going to be held captive in a prison of gold.
    This is extremely right. See for years, I have worked on the roads, I have spent 40 years in the tribal area on nothing, but my motorcycle. Today, when I move, a carcade of several vehicles move with me which is something, I never aspired for in life.
  • So now Rajendra Rathore has become your successor. How do you see this development?
    I did not make him my successor, but he has always worked with me as an associate and he was working as Deputy LoP. His performance in the State Assembly is superb and it is not just me who is saying it, rather people themselves say it & my legislators too say so. So both of us worked in unison and performed in the Assembly. I believe that, among those in Assembly, who understand its working & how to work in that position, it is him.

During the show #JCWithAssamGovernor trended top All-India on Twitter

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