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Enforcing CAA, NRC neither possible nor practical, it takes us towards Hindu Rashtra: Ashok Gehlot

What is the idea of CAB? You will ask a migrant about documents – if he is Hindu, you will allow him in as a citizen but not if he is a Muslim. This is against our Constitution, says Ashok Gehlot, current Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 14, 2019, 08.12 AM IST
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PTI
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ET Q&A
With Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan

Rahul Gandhi is daring to take on Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot told Aman Sharma at his home in Jaipur on Thursday.
Completing one year in office, Gehlot said Congress workers want Rahul to take reins of the party. Excerpts:


Being a border state which gets a lot of Pakistani migrants, what are your views on CAA and NRC? Will you allow these exercises in the state?
I don’t think Centre will be able to implement the NRC or the CAA. It is neither possible nor practical. Let us see what the Supreme Court says. What is the idea of CAB? You will ask a migrant about documents – if he is Hindu, you will allow him in as a citizen but not if he is a Muslim. This is against our Constitution. Look at the fire they have lit in the North East. The CAA and the NRC are only tools of the BJP to take the country towards a Hindu Rashtra and
to strengthen the feeling of Hindutva and polarise the country. They have no other agenda. BJP was humiliated during NRC in Assam. Many of those excluded were Hindus and the BJP itself opposed it. Now, they want to replicate it across India. By raising the flag of Hindutva, they are destroying our plurality.



Is it time for Rahul Gandhi to become Congress president again?
Rahul is dabang (daring), with himmat (courage) aur sahas (the courage) to stand up to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and fight them. He has done it earlier and can do it again. He will do it, he should do it and he should not step back from this.
To become Congress president again or not, that I leave to the High Command and what he wishes to accept. But I feel only he can take on Modi and Shah – he is not afraid of them. Even when he stepped down, we five CMs went to
him and requested him. Maybe he was right in what he did then as felt that issue-based politics of people’s issues and corruption did not reflect in the discourse. Congress workers want Rahul Gandhi to take up the leadership – that is the general feeling.



About the 2019 election loss… has any review been done within the Congress?
Congress could not fight election properly due to shortage of resources. This was due to the scandal of electoral bonds. If someone earlier donated money to Congress and also to the BJP, Congress never had a problem. But BJP is not bothered if a person donates to them or not, they question why the person donated to
Congress!
The BJP raised issue of Balakot air strikes – whoever questioned this in public interest was termed anti-national. The situation now is that if you disagree with them on any point, you are termed anti-national and speaking Pakistan’s language. Congress was defamed by them as a Muslim-appeasement party. The country was divided on religious grounds while Congress always stood for all. Rahul Bajaj raised an issue in ETs programme - if they were not conscious of their guilt, why did BJP spokespersons start to intimidate Bajaj?



What are the challenges for the Congress and Congress-ruled states going ahead?
Due to wrong policies of the central government, the GDP is going down and the states are also suffering because of them. Our state has Rs 3 lakh crore debt. If they don’t give GST revenues due to us, we will face lots of trouble. I also want to say that the RSS should convert itself into a political party so that the Congress can fight directly with it rather than the mask of BJP.
We have no personal fight with either Mohan Bhagwat or Narendra Modi – our fight with the
RSS is ideological. Let it be a direct fight between the Congress and RSS – and let the people decide, without being misled, which ideology to accept – to go towards a Hindu Rashtra or opt for Congress. RSS earns goodwill through its social work but uses the mask of the BJP to push forward its ideology of setting up a Hindu Rashtra.



Your government is completing one year but promises like farm loan waiver and unemployment allowance remain unfulfilled?
We have done the loan waiver for almost 20 lakh farmers who took from cooperative banks and land banks. But for the loans taken from scheduled/nationalised banks of the central government, till the central government cooperates with us, it is not possible. If the centre can waive off loans of industrialists, it can at least settle the loans with the farmers. They are not doing even that.

BJP in Rajasthan has no moral right to criticise us on this – they should instead have gone to the Modi government and said though Congress had promised a loan waiver, the central government should direct nationalised banks for a settlement with the farmers. We have started rolling out the unemployment allowance and it takes time to do the survey – it cannot move ahead all at once.



But Rahul Gandhi had promised that loans of all farmers will be waived?
That election was not one of the Lok Sabha but a state election. The perception may have gone like that, but what he meant was also of the banks of the state and the people understood the same too. Our state government can only waive loans of our own banks – that is the cooperative and land banks.


Is your government stable? You and Sachin Pilot keep exchanging barbs…
Our government was always stable. BSP MLAs have joined us without any conditions. I don’t consider there is any bickering between me and Pilot…just yesterday we sat together on a dharna.

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