Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off his election campaign yesterday with back to back rallies in Meerut, Rudrapur and Akhnoor. With two weeks left for the voting, PM in an exclusive interview with a news channel spoke on issues ranging from the voting to his five years of governance, Opposition attacks and the Balakot air strike and the latest accomplishment of Mission Shakti.
The Prime Minister in a sudden interaction on Wednesday had announced the launch of Mission Shakti, the test of an anti-satellite missile by bringing down one of its satellites in the low earth orbit.
Prime Minister Modi, since taking charge in 2014, has given only a handful interview to news channels but chose to address the nation via his radio show ‘Mann ki Baat’.
Here are some insights from the interview:
PM a centre of attraction
On being asked why the PM has been the centre of attraction during the elections, Prime Minister stated that it may well be because he is an ‘active PM’.
“Because of staying in government for 5 years, it is only natural the people’s focus remains on the incumbent government. I have been an active Prime Minister. I have been Prime Minister who has worked amidst people. I have been a Prime Minister who has constantly visited every corner of India. In that sense, it is very natural for people’s focus to be on me,” he mentioned.
Voters are the essential elements
PM Modi feels he isn’t the focal point, but it is the voters who will decide which party will come to power and form the next government.
“Firstly, I would like to say, the voter is always the central point of elections and the voter should always be the central focus of elections. Because elections are about fulfilling hopes and aspirations of voters. Political parties need to go to voters and then people elect a government,” he responded before further adding, “In our country, a wrong thing has happened where we are making the Prime Minister the central focus of elections. For the nation’s bright future and for a healthy democracy, in elections, the greatest priority, the centre point should be the citizen.”
Lok Sabha 2019 elections
The Prime Minister said the 2019 elections would be personality-driven, and predicted that the BJP would win more seats than its 2014 tally.
“After 5 years of being in power, it is usual for the people to make the election campaigns synonymous with a personality and I’ve been constantly among the masses”
In reply to a query on Mission Shakti, which the PM announced in a special address two-days ago, he said: “India has made its mark in the superspace league with Mission Shakti. It was not a planned move, we announced it when the test was successful and it has taken immense effort over many years.”
Five year Modi rule
About the five-year BJP rule, PM Modi said: “Whatever we have been able to successfully execute in the past 5 years, it is because of the trust Indians place in us. We came into power with a sweeping majority, which shows the consent of the people and as of what I understand of politics, people have understood what Modi can do for them, what are the changes our government can bring in, how BJP can help the country progress. There are some spheres where India feels we lack, but we are sure that Indians won’t let us down.”
People of the country have decided to give us a full majority, then how can Opposition keep us out?: PM Modi on Mahagatbandhan
Castigating the Mahagathbandhan, PM Modi said: “In Bengal, Kerala and Odisha, has there been any understanding between the Opposition parties then how is the gathbandhan working? It is not yet happening. If people of this country have decided to give us the majority, then who can keep us out even if they decide to ally up after the polls are done? The country has made its decision to ensure full majority and reinstate the NDA government, no one can question that.”
Prime Minister during the interview revealed that the day Pulwama attack took place, he was in Uttarakhand.
“I was in Uttarakhand on a pre-scheduled visit on the day Pulawama attack happened. I got the information about the attack and decided to address the rally over the phone but restrained myself from immediately mentioning the incident of such magnitude.”
I was in Uttarakhand on a pre-scheduled visit on the day Pulawama attack happened. I got the information about the attack and decided to address the rally over the phone but restrained myself from immediately mentioning about the incident of such magnitude. #ModiSpeaksToBharat
— BJP (@BJP4India) March 29, 2019
The Opposition alleged that the Pulwama attack and the Balakot air strikes were “match fixing” between PM Khan and PM Modi. Responding to these allegations, PM said “No one can question my patriotism for my country. Everyone was aware of how big the attack was, but you should question the Opposition regarding such personal attacks. If they are sure of what they are blaming us for, they can go ahead with this as their agenda for the polls.”
इस देश का कोई व्यक्ति नरेन्द्र मोदी की देशभक्ति पर शक नहीं कर सकता।
— BJP (@BJP4India) March 29, 2019
He added: “We can debate on the gas connections provided, house built and bank accounts opened with the Opposition. When I speak on progress, they change the topic and pick other issues. We are the government that works 24 hours and these are issues that matter to us but they keep talking about the same thing over and over again. It is unfortunate that when Abhinandan Varthaman was detained in Pakistan, the Opposition started questioning the Balakot air strike and regarding his return. It was their plan and they were going to bring out a ‘candle light march’ for it.”
Attacks by Opposition
On continued attack by the political parties on PM Modi for trying to control top institutions of the country, he says
“Those who have seen my tenure as CM of Gujarat in the past 13-14 years, they won’t accuse me of trying to control the judiciary and parliament. I’ve been silent all this while but should I question as to who ordered for the Emergency? Who jailed political leaders? Who stabbed their own father in law? Please, not make me open my mouth.”
PM Modi on Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya:
Because of our strict action, the fugitives have had to flee. They have become bankrupt:
In a question about the fleeing of fugitives, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Mehul Choksi, PM Modi says, “The Opposition is slamming us on the basis of these fugitives but it is because of our strict actions in the country that they have had to flee. But do you realise, we have come down severely on their assets, and they have had to run because of our actions. During Opposition rule, you would not have even known the names of such fugitives, leave alone know what happened to them and what action was taken against them.
We have made stringent laws to confiscate properties of economic offenders who have absconded from India. Properties worth Rs 14,000 crore belonging to Vijay Mallya have been seized even though total liability against him stands at Rs. 9,000 crore: PM Modi #ModiSpeaksToBharat pic.twitter.com/OHxyyaT0CK
— BJP (@BJP4India) March 29, 2019
On ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign, Modi says: ‘Not a Chowkidar literally, but in spirit’
On the PM Modi’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign, PM Modi to Republic Bharat: “I’ve been the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat. Yes, I’m a chaiwala and my past was never spoken about during my tenure as chief minister. But when I was elected as the Prime Minister, they started raising these issues while I proudly said that I was a chaiwala. As far as Chowkidar is concerned, it is a word I used for myself during the 2011-2012 poll campaign too. Mahatma Gandhi also during his time had qualities of being a Chowkidar, not literally but in the spirit to ensure safety and security of the country.