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On Friday, Subramanian Swamy was yet again a hero for his over 4 million followers on Twitter, when the Delhi High Court cleared an Income-Tax Department investigation in the National Herald case. The BJP MP had filed a private criminal complaint, accusing Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, among others, of misappropriation of funds. Swamy spoke to Prerna Katiyar at his Pandara Road residence in Lutyens’ Delhi on a Sunday morning. Edited excerpts:
What were the reasons for the BJP’s spectacular performance in UP?
There are three reasons, starting from 2014: one was that we had a leader, Narendra Modi, who has acquired an image of a man capable of strict governance. Then there were anti-corruption campaigns starting from 2G. Three, earlier Hindus got divided on caste, language and region, and the minorities got united.
If we can do the opposite — try to divide the minorities and unite the Hindus by making them rise above caste, language and region and see themselves as Hindus — then we can win. And it worked. Hindus are 80% but when they get divided they are smaller than Muslims. There is division along the lines of north-south, eastwest, Brahmin-Kshatriya, etc. Earlier the maximum we used to get was 21% votes. This time (in 2014) it went to 31% because of the unity.
What were the reasons for the Congress’ debacle?
There has been a fundamental change in India in the last 30-40 years. The younger generation has become very nationalistic, self-confident. Increasingly, they do not see the Congress as their party. And honestly Rahul came across as a buddhu; he did not articulate anything. You have to give ideas. Hindutva is an idea where you learn things that schools and colleges do not teach you — to say we are all one because DNA says there is no such thing as Aryan or Dravidian. For that kind of assertion, there is nobody in the Congress.
It is a foreign party headed by foreigners — that’s the general perception. The Congress needs a 100% swadeshi leader — all these Nehru family people, they look like foreigners, behave like foreigners and disappear to foreign places. You have to develop leaders; they are not born. Where was Modi 15 years ago? People used to ask, who after Vajpayee? But the party invested in him (Modi).
The BJP is now eyeing West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu…
In West Bengal, we are far ahead because it was originally a Hindutva state; now they feel suffocated by the extreme strategy of Mamata Banerjee, who thinks that in order to defeat the CPM she has to have the Muslims. Hence there is a reaction. People feel insecure.
In Kerala, the problem is that the composition is not overwhelmingly Hindu, who are at around 50%, unlike Bengal that has 78% Hindus.
In Karnataka, there is no problem for the BJP. In Tamil Nadu, the issue is not that it is not ready for the BJP but we have to be different. In Tamil Nadu they say ‘we are Tamil first and then we are Indians’. But you have to say no, we are Indian first and — if there is no contradiction — we are also Tamils. National identity does not figure in the Tamil way of thinking. ‘Dravid’ is a word that means South India, and is neither a race nor a community.
That you have to confront. Yes, we are going to make it possible for Tamils to learn Hindi. The BJP’s central leadership needs to recast the party structure where you openly speak of Hindutva and Indianness.
The BJP banned illegal abattoirs in UP but not in the Northeast
We are considering the policy in sequences. We have the ban in some states and we will go to the Northeast later. We will eventually have the ban —it is part of the Constitution.
Was Yogi Adityanath a surprise element?
I do not know the dynamics. But I am very happy. He is a very dynamic man, very decisive and totally incorruptible.
What about Kashmir?
There is a fear (among a section of people in Kashmir) that supposing these militants get their way and get a separate or independent part of Pakistan-Kashmir, what will happen to us; these people will target us. So they are too scared to take an open stand — they will not come to help our army, our administration. That has to stop.
For that we have to do three things immediately: scrap diplomatic relations with Pakistan; cancel all trade agreements, including the Most Favoured Nation clause. On Indus water, there is a provision by which some 90,000 acres can be irrigated by diversion of the water. We are not using it therefore the water is going to Pakistan — we need to stop that. And we have to jam all broadcast from Pakistan into our TV.
The intermediate steps: we should bomb the 42 terrorist training camps in PoK, starting with Budirke because it is the residence of Hafiz Saeed (cofounder of Lashkar-e-Taiba).
Over the longer term we have to break Pakistan into four, starting by recognising an independent Balochistan, seeking assistance from Afghanistan and even Iran to support this; then Sindh, Pashtunistan and, finally, whatever is left of West Pakistan. These are my personal views.
You seem optimistic of getting a favourable verdict on the Ram temple issue
The solution is very easy, it is obvious. The Muslim community represented via Sunni Waqf Board, Jamat-e-Islami, says the land belonged to the Hindus but Babar captured it and for over 500 years it had been with the Muslims.
They are not saying that there was a masjid there and you broke it and we have to build a masjid there. They are fighting for land, property ownership. For us, it is a matter of faith.
While the Hindu parties like Nirmohi Akhara say the temple was ours, Muslims say the land is ours.
So you mean they just want to usurp land like alleged Waqf properties?
Exactly. The reason they do not talk about masjid is because a masjid is only a place to read namaz. It can be read anywhere.
So in a petition I said it is my fundamental right to pray to Ram Lalla and there is only one spot according to our faith where he was born and where pran prathistha puja has taken place, that there was a mandir has been proved by the Archeological Survey of India. And the Supreme Court has allowed the make-shift temple to continue but I am being restricted on my pujas. I am fighting for my fundamental right while they are fighting for property rights, which is an ordinary right. You want to read namaz? Across the Sarayu river there is land, build a masjid there. Where does it say that the masjid has to be at this spot? Therefore we will win.
What do you make of Sonia’s initiative of a mahagatbandhan?
The BJP has a shortage of only 17,000-18,000 votes for presidential polls which can be covered by, say, one faction of the AIADMK. So what is the point of this alliance unless they can find a candidate who can divide BJP votes, which is impossible. They have no such candidate.
What about Congress’ ambitions for 2019?
I think they will go to the elections without naming a PM candidate. They name a candidate and the alliance collapses.
What are the government’s achievements of past three years?
The biggest achievement that people talk about is that there is not a single allegation of corruption. Unlike Manmohan Singh who was dabbu, and Indira Gandhi who was corrupt, they feel Modi is trying to do something, that he is a man of action, like in the case of surgical strikes.
People are feeling a sense of empowerment through Hindutva — ki main kuchh hoon (I am somebody).
See also: Hindutva the reason behind BJP’s success, says Subramanian Swamy (India TV).