“The question does not arise,” was his reply at a press conference here, after he was asked whether he would quit as party president and join the Modi cabinet after entering the Upper House. Shah, who arrived on a three-day visit here on Saturday, answered a range of questions.
“I have the responsibility of running the party. I am happy, satisfied and am working wholeheartedly,” he said. The BJP chief exuded confidence that the party would retain power at the Centre in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with more strength.
“The BJP will romp home victorious with a bigger strength than in 2014 on the basis of development and good governance of the Modi government as well as the 13 state governments of the party,” he said. Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “undisputed most popular PM” of India, Shah claimed that the saffron party’s government had succeeded in “ending the politics of family, caste and appeasement” in the country.
“As per the 13th Finance Commission, during the Congress-led UPA regime, Uttar Pradesh’s share in the central taxes was Rs 2,80,467 crore. This rose to Rs 7,10,966 crore in the 14th Finance Commission during the Modi government,” he said. Shah also claimed that the local bodies’ grant, which was “merely Rs 523 crore during the UPA rule”, saw an “unprecedented hike by almost 88 times” under the Modi government, which allocated Rs 46,026 crore in this regard.
“During the UPA regime (13th Finance Commission), UP got grants amounting to around Rs 24,000 crore. The Modi regime increased it to Rs 48,000 crore. For the central schemes, Rs 1,39,052 crore has been made available to the state as an additional assistance,” he said. Shah claimed that if all the assistance extended to UP were summed up, then it would be “2.3 times” more under the Modi government than what was given during the UPA regime.
Alleging that the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government suffered from “policy paralysis”, he said, “Every minister assumed himself to be the PM and no one considered him (Singh) the PM.” Shah also claimed that unlike the previous governments, which had “only a couple of things” to show as achievements, the Modi government had undertaken “50 important works” during its three-year rule so far.
Alleging that there were scams worth Rs 12 lakh crore during the 10-year UPA rule, he said there was “not even a single corruption allegation” against the Modi regime. “Even the opposition could not cast any aspersion in this regard,” said Shah.
The BJP chief claimed that the Army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) last year had projected the country as “one with a firm resolve, which can take any decision for its security,” in the global arena. Referring to the Congress shifting its Gujarat MLAs to Bengaluru reportedly to ward off “poaching”, he said, “I could have understood if they were kept in a locked room in Gujarat itself. But why Bengaluru, is beyond my understanding.”
Asked about the BJP not being as strong in the south compared to the north, Shah played it down saying, “This was earlier said about our presence in the north as well.” To a question on the National Investigation Agency (NIA) blaming cross-border trade for terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP chief said the matter did not come within the ambit of the BJP and the Army, security agencies and the government of that state would be able to answer it.