Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath says the National Population Register (NPR) is designed to “misuse and abuse” and will not be implemented in the state. Nath tells ET that he also sees a link between the ‘Bhopal honey-trap scam’ and the previous BJP-era ministers and says his next priorities are making MP ‘mafia-free’ and investment-friendly.
How has been your first year as CM?
I inherited a bankrupt treasury. In the 10 months preceding the polls, the BJP regime made a slew of policies without any budgetary provisions. I was saddled with these costs. We still started the farm loan waiver.
What is the farm loan-waiver status?
Against the wishes of economists who have never been to a farm, our government’s first step was the waiver. In phase 1, about 20.5 lakh farmers’ loans were written off. We have now commenced phase 2. Second issue was that lakhs of farmers have taken more than one loan. The third issue was loans with wrong Aadhaar numbers and those who have died. About six lakh farmers are in these categories. For those with multiple loans, only one will be written off.
What about bringing in investments?
The ‘Magnificent Madhya Pradesh” programme is designed to highlight the government’s will to get investment. Our intention is not to make a sham of signing MoUs. Investment is an article of faith and those in a position to invest should have faith in our state. Today, MP is better placed to have a manufacturing base because 60% of the Indian market is around the state. Every concession will be tailormade, sector-specific, project-wise and service-specific.
How stable is your government?
Despite BJP’s efforts to lure our MLAs, the government remains stable and united. We have proved it again and again, including in the assembly. Even BJP MLAs believe in our government.
How long will you continue as PCC president?
I have been requesting that a new PCC president be appointed.
What kind of PCC president would you prefer?
Should be somebody who can take everybody along, has a stature, experience and ability to work hard.
What are your priorities in the second year?
We are going to have a ‘mafiamukt’ state. A nexus of extortionists and blackmailers have occupied government lands. There are also fake medicine mafia, drug mafia, transport mafia and cable TV mafia. I have already instructed officials in Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur. The Vyapam and E-tender scams are also being probed.
There is a buzz about involvement of politicians and bureaucrats in the ‘Bhopal honey-trap scandal’.
For 15 years, BJP was in power. Now the activities of several BJP leaders and their associates are in the open. Women have the confidence to complain about their exploitation now. I have set up an SIT to probe the scandal.
Why did the government demolish the properties linked to the newspaper owner who reported the scandal?
Every mafia/extortionist is my target.
Will MP implement NPR?
We are not going to allow any law which divides society, or which is against the spirit of the Constitution. There are no safeguards in the BJP government’s version of NPR. A clerk sitting at NPR office will ask about one’s grandfather’s name and his birth certificate. Tomorrow one may use it to question your citizenship. The NPR is designed to misuse and abuse. The Union government is using NPR as a diversionary tactic.
Source: Economic Times