With the country having completed three phases of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 and heading to the fourth phase of elections, BJP president Amit Shah spoke to Republic Media Network's Editor-In-Chief Arnab Goswami on a range of issues including how the Opposition's anti-Modi campaign is "boomeranging" and why his party chose Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as its candidate in Bhopal despite her being an accused in the Malegaon blast case - infamously branded as an example of 'Saffron terror' and 'Hindu terror' by the then UPA government.
"I will tell you why the ticket was given. 'Saffron terror' and 'Hindu terrorism' are a shameful abuse on the nation's people. Our culture is such that even if an ant bites us, we feed it flour and let it live. That is the kind of people we are. We have been defamed in front of the whole world. We have been insulted in front of the entire world. We stayed quiet. Until the case started. The judgments of cases came up - Mecca Masjid and the Samjhauta blasts. In both judgments, the theory was dismissed. No such meeting took place, none of them came together, neither was there any such theory. A false case was built," he said.
Shah continued, "The Congress party, the leaders of the Congress party have played with the security of the nation for votebank consolidation. They have insulted the nation's culture. And they have brought shame to the country in front of the world. What message has been sent out to the world? Can a Hindu ever be a terrorist? And the biggest thing is, the first people to have been caught under the Samjhauta blasts case, people who belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, they have been let off. Where are they? They were let off."
When asked if the case should be reopened, he said:
"It will be opened. The courts will. Those who are the victims will file petitions which will ask where the real criminals are."
When asked why the cases did not finish in five years and why is it an issue in this election, the BJP chief said:
"First, try to understand that you should ask why the case got delayed not from me but the judiciary. Judiciary is not under the direct control of the government. Wherever the cases were being heard, our government was not in power in those places. Our government was not in power when the case was going on in the lower judiciary. And even if our government was in power, the judiciary would not have been under the control of the government. The judiciary has its own ways of functioning. That is one point. And the second point, this was not made an issue in 2014 because the case was still pending in 2014. There was an accusation of conspiracy. Now, two courts of the country have dismissed the accusation of conspiracy. Dismissed it completely. That the accusation of conspiracy is itself a conspiracy. That is why this has become an election issue. And I believe that the Congress party should answer how it let the real culprits get away."
When asked if it should be made an election issue, Shah said:
"Yes, it should be an election issue because they have played with the culture of the nation."