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It will be a smooth affair as no strings attached: Kamal Nath

Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath tells that putting the state finances in order and attending to the agriculture sector would be his first priorities.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 15, 2018, 08.43 AM IST
We have to examine all his schemes and check how much leakage is there in these schemes, how much is the theft in it, said Kamal Nath
In an interview after Congress named him for CM's post in Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath tells Aman Sharma that putting the state finances in order and attending to the agriculture sector would be his first priorities. Excerpts:

What will be your immediate priority?
The first thing is to put the state finances in order as they are in a mess and the state is bankrupt. But yet we have to ensure that the basic promises we made are fulfilled. We have to raise resources, streamline expenditure and ensure that the agricultural sector is attended to. The agricultural sector is a very large component of the state’s economy as close to 70% of the people in Madhya Pradesh are dependent on agriculture. Their well-being will be my No. 1 priority.

Will the farm loan waiver happen within 10 days? Over Rs 20,000 crore is needed, do you have the money?
Yes, certainly we will do the farm loan waiver. It is our solemn promise to the farmers. 80% of the farmer loans are with scheduled banks. We will negotiate (with the banks) and find ways of doing this. We will ensure that the loan waiver is done because one must understand that a farmer is born in debt and dies in debt. The previous government had failed the farmers of MP.

What was the main challenge for you in this election?
We were up against the organisational strength and money power of BJP. The money power was evident in the amount they spent on publicity and on the ground. I had only six months to put things into shape where our organisation was concerned.

You stopped short of the majority mark?
One region, Vindhya, went wrong for us. If we had reached halfway, we would have been easily through the 116-mark. Our organisational strength there was weak.

How stable is your Government?
All the four independents who have supported us are Congressmen. So, we are 114 and with four independents we are 118. With BSP and SP, we are 121. The support of the SP and BSP to our government is unconditional. So there is no problem at all.

You are among the few active Congress politicias who has worked with generations of the Gandhi-Nehru family

It has been a privilege to work with the Gandhis, starting with Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi. It gives me a great sense of fulfilment. On December 13, 1980, Indira Gandhi-ji had come to Chhindwara when I fought my first election and said she was handing me over to the public and on this December 13, I was chosen the CM by Rahul Gandhi. Being CM is a very important part in my political career. I have devoted my entire life to the Congress.

Unlike many Congressmen you have a picture of Sanjay Gandhi in your office and home?

It is a reality that I have worked closely with Sanjay Gandhi. Why should I shy away from it? Sanjay Gandhi was a great leader.

Is there any move to make Scindia a deputy chief minister?

So there are no hard feelings between you and Scindia?
Absolutely there are no hard feelings. We were united. Scindia proposed my name at the Congress legislature party meeting and gave a speech. I have worked with his father, and my friend, late Madhav Rao Scindia-ji, and that is why I am extremely happy with his support to me.

You were targeted a lot by the BJP. Yogi Adityanath said 'You can keep Ali while he has Bajrangbali'

All that boomeranged on the BJP because everyone understood what they were trying to do. I put the picture of MP before the people. Every section of society was distressed. Also, you have seen the big Bajrangbali temple I have built in Chhindwara.

The BJP has raised the 1984 anti-Sikh riots to question your appointment?

I have been in the government since 1991 as a minister. And 1991 comes after 1984 — was it ever raised then? I was a minister for so many years since, was it ever raised? I was a general secretary of the party in charge of Delhi, was it ever raised then? Has anybody charged me, is there any case on me? Nothing.

What is the larger message of this win in MP in your view?
In 2019, BJP would not win and that Modiand Shah can be defeated. Rahul Gandhi has demonstrated his leadership. In January 2004, people used to question if Sonia Gandhi can be a challenge to then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Sushma Swaraj said she would shave her head if Sonia Gandhi became the PM, someone said he would become an NRI. She was taking on Vajpayee who was largely a loved PM and there was no section of society which was wholly against the government. But Sonia Gandhi made Vajpayee sit at home in 2004. Remember, Narendra Modi is not a loved PM, he is a failed PM and completely exposed. The voter of this country is simple and is poor and even willing to be disappointed but not willing to be cheated.

So, you think Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also lost because of Modi's policies?
BJP has lost because of both Modi and Chouhan.

You went to meet Chouhan two days ago?
He had called me to congratulate me saying he is going to resign and I thought it was proper and appropriate to go and meet him. I will invite him for my swearing-in function; he is a friend.

Chouhan has advised you to not shut down his public welfare schemes…
We have to examine all his schemes and check how much leakage is there in these schemes, how much is the theft in it.

Will you also re-look at Vyapam and the e-tendering scam?
We will set up a People's Commission but it will not be for persecution, it is not going to be political. I want to get eminent judges and lawyers as members. We are not out to hound anybody or oppose anybody but we are going to expose everybody.

Also Read

Kamal Nath govt grows stronger, BJP faces setbacks

Madhya Pradesh ready for unorthodox steps to help investment: CM Kamal Nath

How Kamal Nath government outfoxed BJP in MP

MHA reopens 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases against Kamal Nath

Sonia Gandhi summons Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia to Delhi

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