'I had told the government that if they could not take care of Shaktiman, I would take care of him.'
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ganesh Joshi, who was accused of assaulting Shaktiman, the Uttarakhand police horse that died on Wednesday, April 20, says he is "saddened" by the horse's death.
Shaktimaan, the 13-year-old horse, was badly injured in Uttarakhand last month after Joshi, the Mussoorie MLA, during a BJP protest, allegedly attacked him.
How did you react when you heard of Shaktiman's death?
People are indulging in politics about Shaktiman's death. It is not right, it does not look good.
People blame you for the horse's death.
This blame game is wrong. Every news channel has shown that this incident was for political mileage.
Now that the animal is gone, people want to take political mileage. I don't think that is right.
Do you think the Uttarakhand government did not treat Shaktiman well?
Everyone knows that gangrene does not occur so soon. Gangrene spreading so fast, in two days' time, is not true. This does not happen.
Shaktiman's leg was amputated due to a political conspiracy. And that was the cause of his death. Do you know Shaktiman had multiple fractures?
No, I didn't know that.
Yes. And they amputated his leg, put a rod and made him stand. It was a simple solution; they had to plaster his leg.
When a man is injured, the doctor plasters the leg. And this poor horse's leg was amputated and a rod was put instead.
But the state government got doctors from America to treat Shaktiman, isn't it?
They came, but Shaktiman was treated by local doctors. And ultimately, the poor horse died. It is sad.
You have been consistently saying that you were not involved in the assault on Shaktiman.
Everyone knows that. There were two videos, which the Congress party edited so as to show that I hit Shaktiman, which is not true.
They arrested me on the day when there was a vote in the assembly (on the appropriation bill; the BJP insists the assembly voted against the bill, which eventually led to Congress chief minister Harish Rawat's government being dismissed and President's Rule imposed in Uttarakhand).
They knew that one vote would be reduced if I was sent to jail. But, you see, God is just. The Congress government fell as their own members rebelled.
Do you feel Shaktiman's demise will affect your chances in the election as people may not support you?
The people of my constituency know that I was not involved in any way in this incident. It is only outsiders who don't know the truth.
They doctored the video of Shaktiman getting injured to defame me.
Local people know this fact, but if you are in Mumbai or Chennai, you will not know the truth.
Harish Rawat went to see Shaktiman for the initial four days and then did not go. And yesterday when he died, he rushed to the spot immediately. So, all this is politically motivated and now this matter has reached the court too.
You also issued a statement that you are ready to amputate your foot if you are proven guilty.
Yes, I did say that. I don't think one should stoop so low in politics over this issue.
Shaktiman was a shaheed (martyr) horse and therefore all political parties should have been called for his funeral.
But Harish Rawat did not do that. They did not inform other parties about the funeral. Then they told the press that we did not bother to attend Shaktiman's funeral. (Note: Rawat is no longer chief minister; Governor K K Paul is in charge of the state administration.)
It was only later that we were able to pay our shraddhanjali (respects).
Do you feel Shaktiman was not taken care of properly and therefore died?
I had told the government that if they could not take care of Shaktiman, I would take care of him.
I was told I could not do that. I had offered to do so and so did the state BJP president. Many doctors now say that gangrene does not spread so soon.