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Poor feel that steps taken by PM are in their favour: Arun Jaitley

Speaking to Network18, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the poor people of India feel that the steps taken by the PM are in the their favour.

March 11, 2017 / 10:37 PM IST

After a landslide victory in India's largest state 'achche din' are ahead for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government.

Speaking to Network18, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the poor people of India feel that the steps taken by the PM are in the their favour.

He said that the opposition to demonetisation helped BJP make gains in UP and the party's victory in the state is an indication of 'rainbow coalition'.

"The third important factor which has played us, particularly in Uttar Pradesh is the width of the social alliance that we built above and it was a huge rainbow coalition which had many people and the poor groups were the net addition as far as this alliance is concerned," he said.

Jaitley further said that no one has been able to accuse the Central government of corruption. On the promise of a waving off farm loans, the FM said that BJP will fulfill its promise.

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BJP may have won in UP and Uttarakhand but the party faced defeat in the state of Punjab.

As the Akali Dal have been in power for the last 10 years, it was anti-incumbency that led to the party's defeat in Punjab despite the growth and development in the state, Jaitley said.

Below is the transcript of Arun Jaitley's interview to Maria Shakil.

Q: A lot is being talked about what really worked for the party. Do you think it is just about fast equations or do you think there is an emergence of almost like a class constituency for the BJP?

A: This election goes far and beyond that. If you get 43-44 percent vote in a multi-cornered contest, in a state like Uttar Pradesh, there have to be many factors at play. What were these many factors at play? The first and the most important factor was the credibility of the BJP and the Prime Minister. And therefore, the Prime Minister is extensively campaigning, his large acceptability had a major role to play.

The last 2.5-3 years of government, he provided the country with a clean government. He provided the country with a decisive government. In the midst of a global slowdown, India seems to be one of the few spots which are still growing. The resource being used for the poor, this was a part of our conscious strategy and which is a legitimate correct strategy for this country. There are the strength of liberal economic policies you must grow and use that resource of the state for the poor.

So, every policy from day one, whether it was action against black money, whether it was Jan Dhan, connecting people to banks, whether it was Mudra Yojna, whether it was the gas connections or it was taking money from the tax evaders and using it for the poor, the message went loud and clear that this government wants to eradicate poverty and help the poor in this country. Our opponents helped us in this by going and standing across on the other side.

The third important factor which has played us, particularly in Uttar Pradesh is the width of the social alliance that we built above and it was a huge rainbow coalition which had many people and the poor groups were the net addition as far as this alliance is concerned.

Q: Do you think it is almost like Modi becoming like some kind of messiah of the poor, almost going back to what we saw in 1970s and 1980s when Indira Gandhi gave that clarion call for 'Garibi Hatao'.

A: With one difference. She only used slogans, she did not take steps and in order to implement 'garibi hatao' you need resources with the state for which you need economic growth. So, with a 2-3 percent Hindu rate of growth those days, obviously she did not have the resources to spend on the poor. And what the present government has done is it is a mix of two policies which were blended together. Our policies were reform oriented where the country is growing and we used that enrichment of the state for the benefit of the poor which from the point of view of the economic planning and equity also is a correct decision.

Q: This was being seen as a mid-term referendum on your government. This was also being called as a referendum on demonetisation. Do you think your critics should now be silenced completely?

A: World over, there have been many important commentators who have been amazed and surprised that somebody had the courage to implement demonetisation and some of the most respected journals in the world of the newspapers have recently published write-ups to this effect, not many would have had that courage.

At the end of the day, you do not allow a shadow or a parallel economy to continue. You take action against the tax evader. He is unjustly enriching himself by not paying taxes to the state and you use that money for the benefit of the poor. The poor understood this argument and therefore the poor welcomes it.

Now, can you have such a massive currency replacement in the country and not a single incident taking place on the streets of India? Nothing happened. The people who were welcoming it, some of the parties in the opposition concocted and argument and bought their own argument, the people are against demonetisation. The people have answered and decisively answered.

Q: Winter session was a complete washout because of the opposition opposing the demonetisation move. Now, what we are seeing today, are you hopeful that from Monday onwards it will be only legislative business in parliament?

A: Parliament will see its legislative business, it will also see fireworks on various issues which is legitimate in parliament. Parliament is a political forum. It cannot have a mundane proceeding, it will have a lively proceeding and that is how parliament should be. But, this is a good rap on the knuckles as far as those who are concerned, who thought that just by disturbing parliament and raising the tempo on demonetisation, you could mislead the people.

Q: Do you think Mamata Banerjee perhaps was most disconnected?

A: It seemed so. Now, a politician like Mamataji who has traditionally tried to proclaim about poverty in public life and simplicity, etc. should have been standing with us in an action against black money. Now this is anti-black money action and therefore, why should she have gone all out of the way to become so belligerent against this is something that baffles me completely.
first published: Mar 11, 2017 10:00 pm
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