Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the queue for the prime ministers’ post has gotten longer in 2019, taking a jibe at the Opposition’s grand alliance that is yet to project any face. Addressing his Main Bhi Chowkidar event in Delhi, Modi said, “When I was made a prime ministerial candidate, there was a queue for the PM’s post in 2014. Many wanted to become prime minister. The queue has got a bit longer now in 2019.”

From Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, several names have been suggested by supporters as potential prime ministerial candidate in the recent months. However, the Opposition is yet to confirm any candidate.

‘Chowkidar is a spirit, a sentiment’

Taking a dig at Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his “chowkidar chor hain” campaign, Modi said some narrow minded people had stereotyped the image of a chowkidar, or watchman. “As a chowkidar, I will fulfil my responsibility,” he said. “But, some people who have a narrow mind have stereotyped the image of a chowkidar. [The] Country does not need rajas and maharajas. Chowkidar is a spirit, a sentiment. The spirit behind chowkidar is expanding.” He claimed his “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign is “an extension of Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of trusteeship”.

The prime minister launched this campaign on March 16 to counter Rahul Gandhi’s “chowkidar chor hain” jibe. Next day, he and several party members added the prefix “chowkidar” to their Twitter handles. On March 20, Modi addressed over 25 lakh chowkidars from across the country.

On Pakistan and Balakot airstrike

Modi said Pakistan was in a dilemma over accepting the Balakot airstrike. “If they say something happened in Balakot, they’ll have to accept, ‘Yes, we had terrorist camps operating here.’ They kept telling the world, there’s nothing. They haven’t let anyone visit the place in the last 1.5 months,” he added.

Modi said there were people who were supporting the Pakistan narrative only to attack him. “Elections aren’t a priority for me, the country is,” said the prime minister. “The sad part is, people who are against Modi are supporting the Pakistan narrative in their effort to speak against me.” Several Opposition leaders have raised questions about the Indian Air Force’s strike at Balakot on February 26 to avenge the Pulwama attack, in which 40 soldiers were killed.

However, the prime minister said that time has come to focus on the country’s development. “We have wasted a lot of time on India-Pakistan tussle,” he said. “Let Pakistan suffer the consequences of its actions. It is time to focus on our development.”

‘Congress’ lies are seasonal’

Without mentioning the Congress’ proposed minimum income guarantee scheme, Modi said people must be aware of the fake promises that several political parties make. Under the scheme, the Congress promised to give the poorest 20% families of the country an income support of Rs 72,000 per annum.

He also accused the Congress of spreading lies. “Congress’ lies are seasonal,” said Modi. “When there were elections in Delhi, they came up with the topic of intolerance. When there were elections in Bihar, their topic was – Modi will take back all forms of reservations. Then there was the concept of award wapsi,” he said.