In an explosive interview with India Today TV Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai, Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik backed the farmers’ protest, spoke about the J&K files, said there was corruption in the Goa government and hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take action.
Satya Pal Malik was also the Governor of Goa and Jammu and Kashmir. Excerpts from the interview:
I stand by my comments on the BJP government’s mishandling of Covid in Goa. There was corruption in everything the Goa government did. I was removed for my allegation of corruption against the Goa government. I am a Lohiaite; I have spent time with Charan Singh; I can’t tolerate corruption. The Goa government’s plan of door-to-door distribution of ration was impractical. It was done on the insistence of a company that paid money to the government. I was asked by people, including those from the Congress to investigate. I probed the matter and informed the Prime Minister about it.
They asked the same people who were behind the plan about the allegation. They won’t accept that they are in the wrong. There is an area near the airport from where trucks were used for mining pass. I asked the government to stop them in view of Covid. The government didn’t and then it became a hotspot for Covid. Today, people are scared to speak the truth in the country.
I say what I feel. I did not create a ruckus in Goa. I counseled the CM, even supported him. He said it out of nowhere that we will construct a new Governor’s house in place of the existing one. It is a functioning heritage property; there is no need to demolish it. The situation made me say it publicly that it is not required. This was proposed that when the government was under incredible financial duress, it shouldn’t be done.
ON THE FARMER’S AGITATION
Farmers’ protest is completely justified. I have learned it from Charan Singh and Lohia never to compromise on the interests of your community. I was born among farmers. I have seen and felt their struggles. When Modi ji was CM, he also had this view on MSP. Farmers’ demands aren’t unjustified at all. They have been protesting at Delhi’s borders for almost a year. 600 of them have died. You send condolences even over a dog’s death, but are not taking note of them [dying farmers]. This is injustice.
I’m not challenging the government. I’m only advising. If the government has a problem with me speaking up, I will leave my post. The government must assure that they won’t let situations of distress sale arise. There has been no violence in the farmers’ movement. The Red Fort violence was caused by people not associated with the movement. People belonging to the farmers’ agitation had nothing to do with the violence.
Nihangs were behind the recent lynching incident. It’s surprising that farmers have remained non-violent for so long, despite being ignored by the government. If the farmers are unhappy with the laws, change it, modify it. What’s the problem?
ON ALLEGATION OF KHALISTANI INVOLVEMENT
No Khalistani is involved in the farmers’ protest. You can’t challenge the farmers’ patriotism. They have fought for India’s freedom, sacrificed the most.
ON SCOPE OF AGITATION
Farmers’ agitation is a nationwide movement, active even in the North-East. The government is being given wrong advice; they shouldn’t ignore the protest. It’s my assessment that if demands of farmers are not met, we will lose Haryana, Punjab, Western UP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. I have raised the issue in all forums available to me. The Agriculture minister can’t solve this; the Prime Minister and the Home Minister must intervene. I have told both of them to do something about it or we’ll lose out on a lot. They were sympathetic but I think they are being misguided by bureaucrats. People who don’t know agriculture are saying that these laws would bring reforms. Narendra Modi understands agriculture, he was a pro-farmer force during his stint as Gujarat CM. He raised the issue of MSP when he was the CM. I think the government should lose its dogmatic approach. If the PM shows softness, it would elevate his stature. Only MSP is the holdup point, the entire matter can be resolved within 10 days.
ON J&K FILES
I was told that there is a possibility of me getting Rs 300 crore for clearing those two files. I shared it with the Prime Minister; he said no compromise on corruption. I cancelled both the deals. Now everybody is getting free insurance in J&K.
ON MEHBOOBA MUFTI
I haven’t got a defamation notice from Mehbooba Mufti’s lawyers yet. She hasn’t been explained the legal intricacies by her lawyers. You can’t file a case against a governor. PDP workers benefited the most from the Roshni Act. There are lists, documents available to prove it. They got the most plots through benami. I reiterate today that PDP workers got most of the plots under this Act. I have no grudges against Mehbooba; she is like my daughter. I respect Farooq Abdullah a lot; he hasn’t threatened me.
ON PM MODI AND TODAY’S POLITICS
The PM is against corruption but even the PM can be misguided. The difference between the politics of the 70s-80s-90s era and today is it is not worth doing anymore. At that time, politics was a mission. If you told anybody that you were in politics in those days, people used to think you were doing something good. Today that feeling doesn’t exist. Politics was a mission before, then it became a business, and today, I can’t even say what it has become. There is no immediate solution to the state of politics today, change would come over time. I still have high hopes from Narendra Modi that he will act against corruption.