PCC chief Sachin Pilot believes Rajasthan is suffering because of chief minister Vasundhara Raje's "incompetence" to deal with the Modi government. On the eve of Raje's two years in power, Pilot tells Bhanu Pratap Singh the government should not be celebrating. Here is why:
Q. The state BJP government is celebrating its two years in power on December 13. How does the Congress view that?
The government may complete 2nd, 3rd, 4th year in office, but why spend public money on a political party's function? Why empty the state coffers in collecting BJP workers from all over Rajasthan? If the common man was celebrating, it would have been understandable. But here the government is celebrating. And celebrating what? Prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing, farmers are committing suicides and petrol-diesel rates are shooting up. The government says it has no money to open hospitals or to build roads and is running everything on PPP mode. Yet, it has crores of rupees to spend on a political event. This is immoral and unethical.
Q. The state government claims it has set a record in compensating the farmers for crop losses by amending the rules. Is that not good?
The government has gone on record saying that 10 lakh farmers are yet to be compensated. The latest girdawari (harvest) report is yet to be disclosed, while a third sweep of inclement weather has already hit the state. This means the affected farmers could be around 40 lakh. There has been a back-to-back crop failure all through this year. For the first time, farmers in Rajasthan committed suicides due to crop loss. Still the government thinks it should celebrate.
Q. The government has been working on social schemes too. Is not Bhamashah scheme an effort to improve the lot of poor?
Let it not come up with new social schemes if it lacks vision, but at least it should not jeopardise the old ones. Don't know why Bhamashah cards are being issued. How many cards do you expect an individual to carry? Government is completely on the back foot in education and health sectors; everything has been left in the private hands.
Q. Why is the Congress accusing the government of 'saffronising' education?
School curriculums and academic calendars should be decided by the experts and not by the political leaders. The ministers here are, however, busy interfering with curriculums and textbooks, as per own understanding. They are not hesitant even in imposing their political ideologies on the impressionable minds of schoolchildren.
Q. How would you rate the state's law and order in past two years?
There have been 6,000 rapes in Rajasthan during this government's tenure. Atrocities against Dalits have shot up. Hardcore criminals have escaped from police custody. Daylight shootouts are occurring in the state capital. Rajasthan is now second only to Uttar Pradesh in crime rate. Unfortunately, this is happening even as the state has a woman chief minister.
Q. But the police and government have been actively chasing the corrupt. Isn't it?
BJP promised to end corruption but gave Rajasthan the biggest mining scam estimated around Rs 40,000 crore. Why the mines were first allotted and why were they later cancelled? Some tough questions have to be asked here.
BJP has just been targeting the political opponents at the national and the state levels through the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Himachal Pradesh CM's house was raided on the day of his daughter's wedding. The CBI found nothing. If the Modi government is really impartial and serious about tackling corruption, why similar raids were not conducted and cases not booked against CMs Shivraj Singh and Vasundhara Raje? The slogan of corruption free governance has fallen flat on BJP's face.