The Three Choices


India Today - - WINNING - by Ku­nal Prad­han For more on the ses­sion, go to­di­a­to­ shah-digvi­jaya

Three par­ties. Three ide­olo­gies. Three out­spo­ken lead­ers. The dis­cus­sion be­tween Amit Shah of BJP, Digvi­jaya Singh of the Congress and Man­ish Siso­dia of the Aam Aadmi Party soon be­came what many had ex­pected it to be—a no-holds-barred con­test which started from Bat­tle­ground Ut­tar Pradesh and veered into BJP prime min­is­te­rial can­di­date Naren­dra Modi’s home state Gu­jarat.

The seat­ing ar­range­ment on stage was per­haps apt: Digvi­jaya and Siso­dia were on one sofa and Shah on an­other. This loose align­ment be­tween the Congress and AAP, how­ever, only high­lighted how they are both play­ing catch-up to the fron­trun­ners BJP in the per­cep­tion game in the run-up to the elec­tions. Here are some of the high­lights from their pitched bat­tle: Amit Shah If you see in the en­tire coun­try, there is a trend to­wards Naren­dra Modi. One of the rea­sons is that dur­ing 10 years of UPA gov­er­nance there has been in­fla­tion, there has been cor­rup­tion and there has been in­se­cu­rity among women. There are so many is­sues on which people are not sat­is­fied and are very very an­gry… Since Modi was nom­i­nated the prime min­is­te­rial can­di­date, people have got some sense of op­ti­mism and now the en­tire coun­try is united. Digvi­jaya Singh It is said that Naren­dra Modi does good gov­er­nance. I would like to ask Amit Shah, is their se­cret for good gov­er­nance a state where 32 po­lice of­fi­cers are in jail? Where the min­is­ters are crim­i­nals? Show us any good gov­er­nance mod­ule where one min­is­ter is in jail or tell us some se­cret about good gov­er­nance where a min­is­ter, in spite of be­ing con­victed, is part of the Cab­i­net. Tell us the se­cret of this gov­er­nance where debt is more than Rs 172,000 crore, whereas Gu­jarat was debt-free in 1995… This is what you call good gov­er­nance? Amit Shah I would like to in­form you that he (Digvi­jaya) is talk­ing about me. I went to jail, yes. But Modi’s regime is not re­spon­si­ble for that. It hap­pened due to the vic­tim­i­sa­tion pol­icy of the Congress. What­ever cases were filed by CBI, they are all fake.


Man­ish Siso­dia I was in Gu­jarat for the last two days. I went to vil­lages which are close to the na­tional and state high­ways. What Modiji is say­ing over the last one year is not true. He has said that in the

last 12 years, Gu­jarat made huge progress. The fact is that it has been ahead in road con­nec­tiv­ity for 25 years. About schools, yes, four rooms have been con­structed. Do you think that four rooms are ad­e­quate enough to be called a school? What about the fa­cil­i­ties or the qual­ity of teach­ers? In Mehsana district, four rooms have been made in the name of school, but what about toi­lets? Teach­ers are be­ing paid only Rs 5,300 on con­tract. You are de­vel­op­ing the fu­ture of the coun­try for this mea­gre amount? Amit Shah What­ever Man­ish is say­ing is not com­pletely true. For four years, the teach­ers get a fixed amount and af­ter that, when they be­come per­ma­nent, they get full salary. Mod­er­a­tor Is the fixed amount only Rs 5,300? Amit Shah Yes, and all of it is on paper. This is not a very new fact that you are telling the coun­try.


Mod­er­a­tor Amitji, Man­ish and Arvind Ke­jri­wal were in Gu­jarat, they went to Modi’s house also. Do you think that Delhi’s for­mer elected chief min­is­ter did not have the right to meet the Gu­jarat Chief Min­is­ter and have a cup of tea with him? Amit Shah See, there are a few norms in pub­lic life. Ke­jri­wal should have taken an ap­point­ment from the CM. When elec­tions are around the cor­ner, it is not ad­vis­able to talk with the op­po­si­tion party and politi­cise it in front of the me­dia.


Pho­to­graphs by RO­HIT CHAWLA

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