Former Union minister and senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has said he wants the Centre to nationalise the assets of Adani Group, which has faced scrutiny after its stocks tumbled following a report over its financial deals and a ruckus was created in Parliament by opposition parties over it.
In an interview with PTI here, Swamy spoke about how his recent tweet on being “sorrowful” regarding the demise of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf which has received a lot of criticism online.
He also spoke about how Union Budget 2023-24 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman alleging it lacked either objectives or strategies and said the allocation for defence is low at a time when China is aggressive on the border issue.
Excerpts from the interview —
Question: How do you think the BJP government has handled the Adani Group issue, while opposition parties are demanding action against the beleaguered conglomerate?
Answer: I would like to see the Prime Minister nationalise all the assets of Adani Group and then auction it for sale and out of that money, help people who have lost this way. As if Congress didn’t have deals with Adani. I know many of them who had lots of deals with Adani but I don’t care for the Congress. I want the purity of the BJP to be established. The general public opinion is that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has something to hide and now it is the job of the government to punish it.
Q: Your recent tweet on being “sorrowful” about ex-Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has been widely criticised on social media even by members of BJP. What do you have to say about it?
A: A lot of criticism on me, saying that Pervez Musharraf was a butcher who killed Indians in the Kargil war. But in the Kargil war, Pervez Musharraf was commander-in-chief for the Pakistan Army. I mean, he didn’t go around shooting people. He asked the army to shoot. Now, how can you be called a butcher and so on when the Prime Minister of Pakistan was Nawaz Sharif during the war (in 1999).
Now, I believe PM Modi is the one who broke all protocol, went to Pakistan and had lunch with him… Why didn’t they talk about the real man who was behind the attack on Kargil, that is Nawaz Sharif. I know Musharraf because I have met him several times. I met him in Pakistan, and in India. He had at that time become president by a coup. When he started wearing civilian clothes, he gave up the commander-in-chief position. He said, I would like to work with India. And he was also the person who helped the United States to finish the Taliban, at least temporarily.
So, these (netizens) are funny people. If they want to question me on that, the first question I have is why did Modi go to Nawaz Sharif’s place, who is the real architect of Kargil war? They won’t do that…
Q. The appointment of Justice Victoria Gowri as an additional judge of Madras High Court has received criticism and outcry by a section of lawyers. Senior advocates say the decision by the Supreme Court on dismissal of the petitions will be challenged. Your comments?
A: In a democracy, anyone can challenge anyone. What she said, as an individual, as a member of RSS, as a member of BJP cannot be assessed unless she became a judge and then behaved the same way. Secondly, as the Chief Justice has correctly noted, she is an additional judge at the moment. And after two years, there’ll be a review… So she has to act according to the law.
We have other judges which I don’t want to name, we have made them judges and they have been “fanatic Muslims” before becoming a judge. So, I think this hounding and hunting people just like that, because they held some views. Why didn’t you prosecute her at that time? When she expressed those views. You could have easily done it. One could have filed a PIL like I do all the time. Go and file a case against her if you want. This is the selection made by the Government of India and supported by the judges of the Supreme Court. So, I think it’s a bogus campaign against her.
Q. You have been a critic of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from the time she has taken up the portfolio. What is your view on this year’s budget?
A: It is a bogus budget. Budget must have four pillars. What is your (government) objective? No objective was seen in this budget. She said India will grow at six and a half percent next year. What about last year? What happened from 2019 to today, we have only grown at 3 per cent or 4 percent per year. How is it going to work at 6 percent? Regarding the priorities, is agriculture a priority? or is industries a priority or services a priority? Nothing about that. On the question of strategy. What is your (government) strategy? Do you have a strategy for government control? or do you have a strategy for encouraging people to save more? What is the strategy? Nothing. Finally, where are we going to get the resources from? They have cut down the resources for defence, a minuscule amount when China is threatening you. We are cutting our defence allocation. We have got so many essential sectors. So, what she should do is tell us what happened.