In an exclusive interview to Republic Media Network's Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, BJP party president Amit Shah has spoken on a range of topics that may be key to determining which way the 2019 Lok Sabha election pendulum swings, including on what he said was the party's main election agenda - national security.
Speaking on whether Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sudden move of calling for cordial relations with India and backing Narendra Modi to be PM despite having taken a contrary stand immediately following the Balakot air strike and also during the Kartarpur corridor inauguration quantified as a U-turn, and on being asked for his views on this, Amit Shah said:
“There can be peace only if there is Modi government."
When asked what made Imran Khan conclude that if there can be peace between two nations, it can only be under Modi government, the BJP chief replied saying:
"Because in the fear of another air strike or Surgical strike, they (Pakistan) will not do anything."
He also added that Pakistan does not have the courage to repeat its mistake after the Surgical Strike.
“The way Narendra Modi has hit back with Surgical Strike first and now an air strike, I don't think Pakistan has the courage to repeat the same mistake,” he said.
On being asked if Pakistan is expecting India to begin talks in case Modi government comes to power, the BJP chief responded:
“Talks can only happen if they wipe out terrorism completely from their soil. Even that would bring in peace.”
Furthermore, talking on the topic of a BJP minister who said 'Narendra Modi instructed the air force on the 13th day after Pulwama attack. Our fighter jets destroyed Pak terror hubs’, calling it ‘Modi’s force’ and whether it was an attempt to claim the credit for the IAF strike, Amit Shah responded:
“Who should be given credit then? The leader of the Opposition?”
When asked on the Opposition demanding that the forces be given the credit for the IAF strike and not the PM, Shah answered saying that the political decision was made by the PM and his colleagues and implemented by the forces. It was a success on the basis of the combined efforts of both, he put forth.
“Who took the political decision? Whose political will is it? It is of the leader. It is of the country's Prime Minister. Our forces were the same. Why did they not respond after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks? Why was there no airstrike after 26/11 Mumbai attacks? The decision is taken on the basis of political will and the forces implement it. It is a success based on the combination of these two. Neither are we taking credit for our forces' bravery nor are we marketing it. But this is the reality. Bangladesh was formed, Congress was taking political advantage from it till date. Now the same Congress party is creating a hue & cry over it. Who claimed credit for it? The decision was taken by the Prime Minister and his colleagues.”