Governance Now exclusive: Home minister seeks to dispel rumours, says won’t let anything spoil his ties with PM
Ajay Singh | September 1, 2014 | New Delhi
Union home minister Rajnath Singh has said that he would never “let anything” spoil his relationship with prime minister Narendra Modi, who has been steering the country through difficult times.
In an exclusive and freewheeling interview with Governance Now, Singh said his allegiance to Modi was total. On this count, “ranch matra bhi sandeh nahin hona chahiye (there should not be an iota of doubt),” he said.
“There cannot be any doubt about the primacy of the PM in the cabinet system. It will always be there, but we run the government like a cohesive entity, like a family,” he said, dismissing speculation about his ties with Modi. “Those who speculate are unable to fathom the depth of our relationship,” Singh said.
Betraying a bit of his emotional side while talking about his reluctance to take up the government assignment when the election results were announced, Singh said his decision was not guided by any self-interest. “I have never asked for anything and always regarded the post as a platform to discharge certain responsibilities,” he said.
Asked if he regretted conceding primacy to Modi by joining the government, Singh said, “I never hankered for primacy.” Referring to last year’s BJP national executive in Goa where Modi was declared the party’s face for the elections, he said, “You must have seen me conceding primacy to the country’s most popular leader as I chose to speak before him... In politics, the most popular leader gets primacy.”
Asked what prompted him to join the government, Singh said the PM and the organisation decided his role and he took it up. He admitted that there might be certain individuals who would have nursed grievances against him but he had always abided by certain parameters of relationship in politics. “I am open to talk to them but as far as my relationship with Modi goes, it is too deep, sacred and intense to let anything spoil it,” he said.
The candour with which Singh talked about his relationship with the PM and his own style of functioning was quite unusual, given the impression in the media about gag orders on ministers. Asked if he would let us know about the initiatives he had taken after assuming the charge, the veteran politician smiled and said, “The initiatives speak for themselves. Do not expect me to disclose operational details. You will come to know shortly.”
Singh, however, discounted the possibility of appointing interlocutors in Jammu and Kashmir. “For how long will we carry on talks through interlocutors? The time has come to review such policies,” he said, adding that the unproductive practices of the past must be severed.
The home minister said though there might be merit in having an oversight on the intelligence agencies, it would be equally important not to leak intelligence reports on operations. Without elaborating further, he said the government was conscious of the sanctity of IB’s secrecy while dealing with certain cases.
Denying that Aadhaar and the national population register (NPR) would intrude in each other’s domain, he said over 25 crore people would be given citizenship cards within a year. Emphasising that his top priority was to bolster morale of the police force, Singh declared that all police personnel across the country would be given a police medal as reward for their services. Similarly, he said central forces deployed in Naxal-affected areas would be given the same benefits and perks as given in the army.
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