Amit Shah, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was appointed as India is home affairs minister by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Here are a selection of his views, taken from newspaper interviews and speeches:
Yes, it’s true that I have never seen economic deprivation. I was born in a rich family and brought up that way too. I have not seen a cash crunch. But, I firmly believe that whether you come from a traditionally rich family or poor family, what matters more for one’s progress in politics is your sentiments for the people, your talent and a constant belief in your convictions."
On ancient Indian teacher Chanakya: "His sutras (aphorisms) are eternal. Economics, politics, the problem of governance are all there."
"The old culture in Delhi cannot dominate me. A lot of things have been distorted since 1947: I want to change the political culture of the whole country, the entire system." (India gained its independence from Britain in 1947)
On illegal Bangladeshi immigrants: "The illegal immigrants are like termites. They are eating the grain that should go to the poor, they are taking our jobs."
On the slaughter of cows, considered sacred for Hindus, in the most populous Indian state, Uttar Pradesh (UP): "A river of cow, buffalo, and oxen blood has flown in UP. We will create a river of milk and ghee in the state."
On rallies in a parliamentary constituency with a large Muslim population: "Can’t make out if it’s India or Pakistan."
On former colonial ruler Great Britain: "It was British invaders who changed our entire education system and the culture of all-round development was lost. It now requires a lot of effort to get out of the glow and glimmer of this education system."
On demonetisation, when India replaced the majority of its banknotes from circulation in 2016 in a surprise move: "It will greatly benefit the economy. The middle class, the poor and small traders will face no problems."
On former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: "You are an economist and we bow before you. We have no issues with the depth of your knowledge and praise it, but a tea seller (current Prime Minster Narendra Modi) did a better job in running the country."
On the future: "The prime minister has a dream where no one will go hungry, where there will be no corruption, every house will have electricity, clean drinking water, adequate facilities for health and education, and India’s glory is established globally. The BJP government at the centre is moving forward to build such a New India."
MODI NAMES SITHARAMAN AS INDIA’S FINANCE MINISTER
Narendra Modi named Nirmala Sitharaman, formerly the country’s defence minister, as the next finance minister
Having masterminded the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s landslide victory in the April-May general election, Shah had been tipped as a possible candidate for the finance ministry in recent days.
Sitharaman will become the senior most woman minister in Modi’s cabinet.
The previous finance minister, Arun Jaitley, had written to Modi asking not to be considered for a ministerial position due to ill health.
Sitharaman will take over finance ministry at a time when there is pressure from industry for the government to provide some stimulus to halt a worrying slowdown in Asia’s third largest economy.
India probably lost its spot as the fastest growing major economy to China in the January-March quarter as a chill in domestic and global consumer demand hit manufacturers and service providers. Data for the quarter is set to be released later on Friday.
Modi also named S Jaishankar, a former foreign affairs secretary, as India’s new external affairs minister. He will take over from Sushma Swaraj, the ruling party’s veteran leader and the previous most senior woman in the cabinet. She has also stepped aside due to poor health.