Just before Lok Sabha Elections 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given an interview to Republic Bharat’s Arnab Goswami, in which spoke about a range of issues – from the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan to defence deals to his recent address to the nation the state on ‘Mission Shakti’.
Read the highlights of the interview below:-
PM Modi’s take on the number of seats his party will win this time:
PM claimed there was no contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and that the people have already made up their minds. “Earlier, people asked who Modi is. Now they know what I have done for national security. They know my intent for welfare of poor. They are aware of all these. I believe the BJP will not only get full majority, but will get a greater majority than last time,” Modi told Republic TV news channel.
“Our allies (in the NDA) will also win more seats. People will also give us greater strength in areas where we have been weak.”
“India has seen 30 years of instability. People now want a stable government. They want that the major partner of any coalition should get full majority, and other allies also (to) get (a) good number of seats,” Modi said.
On Pulwama and IAF Pilot Abhinandan
Modi dismissed criticism over the February 26 strike conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on a terrorist camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan, in reprisal for the February 14 suicide car bombing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama that left at least 40 paramilitary troopers dead. Some opposition parties have raised questions about the death toll in the strike.
“These people see statesmanship in the statement of Pakistan Prime Minister (Imran Khan) and they doubt their own Prime Minister. People will have to identify these people,” Modi said.
It was a reference to the praise won by Khan from some quarters for releasing a captured Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, and his offer of talks to India. Varthaman was captured on February 27 following a dogfight along the Line of Control in Kashmir .
“When Abhinandan incident happened, all opposition parties should have spoken in own voice expressing honour that we had shot down a F-16,” Modi said.
Modi noted that he had publicly announced after the Pulwama attack that he had given a free hand to all security- related institutions to respond to the attack. Modi defended his government’s track record on economic offenders, and said the Centre has enacted laws to deal with the fugitives among such offenders. “Wherever in the world they hide, their money can be confiscated,” he said.
On India-Pak Relations
PM Modi asserted in the interview that he has spoken to Pakistan whenever terror incidents have taken place.
“Every time, Pakistan has assured me that they’ll take action. Whenever such incidents take place, Pakistan has the same approach. But now, I don’t want to be stuck in that trap. I am waiting for the moment when decisive action is actually taken against terrorism,” he said.
During the course of the interview, Goswami also brought up the unemployment issue in the form of allegations that have been made by the Opposition.
“When the Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) government was there, the same issue was raked up.. But in Atal ji’s tenure, six crore people were employed. Whereas in the UPA’s tenure, 1.5 crore people were employed. But still, it was Atal ji’s government that was slammed.”
PM Modi Modi then went on to highlight his government’s track record in terms of employment, saying that under the Mudra Yojana, approximately 15-17 crore people took money, out of which four crore people took it for the first time.
“They must have started some kind of employment,” he asserted.
When questioned about the Rafale jet deal, PM attacked the Congress
He attacked the Congress, saying previous governments led by the party had been mired in corruption in defence deals. “In our country, defence deals have been like an ATM for previous governments. All previous Congress government have used these ATMs,” said Modi, who has been attacked by the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi for alleged wrongdoing in the Rafale jet fighter deal. The Prime Minister also criticised the Congress’ new income scheme. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has just unveiled a minimum income guarantee scheme, promising the poorest of poor households at least Rs.12,000 a month. Modi said generations of the same family had spoken about eradicating poverty. “Dynasty is dangerous for a democracy,” he said.
Hitting back, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “We have seen how Mr. Narendra has catered to the whims and fancies of his suited-booted friends and totally ignored the demand and the hopes that the rural villagers and people living in rural areas have had of him.”
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