New Delhi: Satya Pal Malik, the outspoken former governor of Jammu and Kashmir, has said that the allegations of crony capitalism against the Narendra Modi government in light of the Adani crisis will have an impact on the 2024 general elections.
Malik, who served as the governor of Goa, J&K, Meghalaya and Bihar, commented on various issues during an interview with the YouTube channel DB Live. He discussed the Pulwama terror attack, the revocation of Article 370, the allegations against the Adani Group and the RSS’s influence on higher education institutes. The interview was published on YouTube on April 9.
He said that the Modi government does not have any defence against the allegations that it played a role in Gautam Adani’s meteoric rise. He agreed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should have been allowed to speak in parliament, terming the speaker’s refusal to do so as “unprecedented”. Prime Minister Modi has still not answered Gandhi’s accusations regarding the source of Rs 20,000 crore in Adani companies.
The former governor said that the Adani matter has seeped into the common man. He quoted a song which he heard a woman singing, “Ye na chaiwala hai, na gai wala, Ambani Adani ka ye lagta saala hai. Is ne desh bech dala [He is neither a tea seller, nor a protector of cows. Looks like he is a relative of Ambani and Adani, he has sold the country].”
Referring to Modi’s statement that a supari [a hit job] had been taken out against him to sully his image, Malik said that if such a contract had been issued, it was “given to Adani”. Only the Adani allegations are ruining the prime minister’s reputation, he said. He added that the Adani matter will adversely affect BJP in the 2024 elections.
Malik has been a critic of the Modi government since the now-repealed three farm laws were passed. He had said in January last year that when he told the prime minister that 500 farmers had died in the protests against the law, Modi had asked, “Did they die for me?”
In the interview, he added that he had told the prime minister not to make enemies out of Sikhs and Jats and “quickly settle the farmers’ agitation”. He repeated the statement that Modi did not take the issue seriously.
Malik said that he will not join any party, but will campaign against the BJP for the 2024 general election. He said he is involved in talks to create a joint opposition to the BJP. If one opposition candidate is fielded against the BJP in every constituency in the 2024 elections, the saffron party will not get over 150 seats, he said.
Opinion on corruption, Pulwama and office of governor
The 76-year-old leader went into the details of an allegation he had made earlier that a private company had tried to bribe him Rs 300 crore while he was the governor of J&K. He revealed that the “RSS functionary” who was very interested in the deal was Ram Madhav. He rejected the proposal for which he was, he says, offered Rs 300 crore as a bribe. The day after he cancelled the proposal, Ram Madhav arrived at Raj Bhavan at 7 am, Malik claimed.
According to Malik, the RSS leader was very upset and asked, “Kaha aise kaise investment aaye ga? Maine kaha investment aaye ya na aaye mai galat kaam nahin karunga [How will we get such investment again? I replied, irrespective of investment, I will not do the wrong thing].”
During his tenure as J&K governor, Malik said that he told the CBI that some people were involved in the two deals, one of which was for a hydel power plant. These people were ‘manya pradhan mantri ke log‘ [the respected prime minister’s people].
On the Pulwama terror attack in February 2019, Malik said that he was not kept in the loop about the movement of CRPF jawans. In the days before the attack, they had wanted an aircraft instead of travelling by road, but the request was rejected by the Union home ministry, he said. He said that the terror attack was the result of laparwahi (negligence) and incompetence and said that there was no conspiracy behind it.
Malik said that several of the vice-chancellors who have been appointed over the past year are not there on merit but due to their connection with the RSS. Many of them were “not fit to be principals of intermediate colleges”, he said. When he was governor, even he was under pressure to appoint some persons but he refused to do so.
He said that he left the post of governor of Goa because the prime minister was “supporting a corrupt chief minister of Goa”. While he did not go into the allegation, incumbent Pramod Sawant was the CM of Goa during Malik’s tenure as governor there, which lasted from November 2019 to August 2020.
Talking about the adversarial relations between several opposition-ruled governments and governors, Malik advocated for a change in the method of appointing persons to the constitutional post. He said that to ensure yes men are not appointed to the office of governor, the appointment should be done in consultation with the judiciary – similar to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the appointment of election commissioners.