Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday claimed there was no contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and that the people have already made up their minds. In an interview to Republic TV that was aired on Friday, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies will get more seats than they did in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“The people of the country have made up their minds, they want a government with an absolute majority,” said Modi. “People have seen 30 years of instability and they want stability now. The mahagathbandhan [the grand alliance] is more scattered today as compared to 2014.” He added that dynasties are dangerous for a democracy.
When asked why he chose to announce India’s Mission Shakti just days before the election, Modi said, “Lot of global planning is needed before an event like ASAT test.” On the question that if he violated the Model Code of Conduct with that announcement, the prime minister said the government cannot say it is not on duty just because elections are round the corner. The Election Commission has set up a committee of officers to examine the matter.
When questioned about the Rafale jet deal, the prime minister claimed the previous governments used “defence deals as their ATMs”. “They could not imagine that deals can be done with transparency.” He accused the previous governments of stealing. “They accuse me of having 250 pairs of clothes, but I say it’s better than stealing Rs 250 crore,” said Modi.
The prime minister said his government passed law for fugitives. “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,” said Modi. “I have got Christian Michel, he is sitting in jail and revealing details. All the cheats are waiting for the government to change so that they come back.” Michel is accused in an alleged scam in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal.
On being asked if he’s now become a part of Lutyens Delhi, Modi said, “I’ve found my family in as well as out of Delhi. I’ve taken Delhi outside, and the capital is as important to me as Chennai, Bhubaneshwar and Kolkata. Whether Delhi accepts me or not, I’ve taken Delhi to every corner of the country.”
Modi said India’s fight is with terrorism and not Pakistan. Though Pakistan has assured India of decisive action against terrorism, it has not done anything about it, he said. “I do not want to fall into their trap now,” he added. “Unless and until the world can point and tell yes this is decisive action against terrorism, I will wait till then.”
On the Balakot air strike, Modi says he was constantly involved. “There is no expectation from their [jawans] end, but I could not sleep and I was aware of what was happening,” he says. “No one can question my patriotism for my country.”
Criticising the Opposition, Modi said everyone should have celebrated that India shot down the F-16, but the Opposition leaders raised questions instead. He said the Opposition sees statesmanship in Pakistan prime minister’s statements but doubt their own prime minster. “The people of the country should recognise such people,” he added.
Modi on the Opposition
When asked what he thinks about the Congress’ proposed minimum income guarantee scheme, abbreviated NYAY, Modi said four generations of the same family have said the same thing but has done nothing. He added that those accuse him of working for the capitalists should know that the Modi government has provided electricity to 2.5 crore families. “Were they all industrialists?” Modi asked.
Asked about accusations of trying to control top institutions of the country, Modi said: “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 do not make me open my mouth.”
Modi said the Opposition looks the other way when he talks about development. “This is a government that works 24x7,” he said. “We can debate on the gas connections provided, house built and bank accounts opened with the Opposition... These are issues that matter to us but they keep talking about the same thing over and over again.”