NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Namaskar Pradhan Mantri ji
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Greetings to both of you
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Thank you for taking time out for the viewers of TIMES NOW. We are going to present this interview in a novel manner this time, in this setting. I am going to ask you a question, two phases of the election are done and votes have been cast for 185 seats. Do you feel that despite the five years you have spent (in power), there is still a Modi wave?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Two phases of elections are done and first I would like to express gratitude to our voters from the bottom of my heart. I am grateful to the voters because they took part in this festival of democracy with a lot of enthusiasm. It is right, that the month of May is not very conducive for voting, because on one hand, students have exams in March-April, on the other hand it becomes hot. But the time-table has begun and the enthusiasm with which people have cast their vote, the people of this nation deserve to be congratulated.
I especially want to congratulate the voters of Jammu and Kashmir, the voting has been very peaceful. But along with that, it's a matter of grave concern for all those who believe in democracy, that West Bengal was drenched in blood during elections, there was a bloodbath there. Today, West Bengal is becoming a big challenge for all of us. As far as election results are concerned, it's not just about first phase and second phase, for five long years the continuous work that we've done, the initiatives that we've undertaken, because of all of that, I firmly believe that the people of this country have reposed their faith in the BJP. The people believe in our schemes and intent and because of that the BJP has gotten more support. Wherever I went during my campaign trail, I saw the same support. And this election has a quality that the media has missed and it's probable that maybe TIMES NOW can take advantage of this in the future. What was the special quality of the 2014 elections and what is the special quality of 2019 elections?
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: I want to ask this question to you Modi Ji.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: First let me tell you, the 2014 election results was the lowest tally for the Congress in any election that has been fought since independence. They had the least number of lawmakers that came into the Parliament.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: 44
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: And in 2019 elections, it's significant to note, that for the first time since Independence, the Congress is fighting from such a small number of seats. Congress is fighting from such a small number of seats, they do not even have candidates to field. They have been forced to hunt for allies and partners. This is a matter that the Indian media has missed.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Modi Ji, it's true that the Congress will have to look for allies and see how far the alliance will go. But you are always in direct contact with the people of the nation. In 2014, you had started off with your election rallies months in advance and you had built a connection with the common man. In 2014 ,there used to be a spark in the eyes of the people, there used to be a spark that reflected the Modi magic. They were tired from the decade long rule of the Congress. In 2019, people are saying that maybe that magic is not going to be there, because now, they want answers of the five year rule and if there have been some disappointments, then they will reflect now.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: See if you are saying that I do election rallies, then I think you are doing injustice to me. Look at my 18 year record, right from 2001 when I entered the administrative world, there won't be a single Friday, Saturday or Sunday when I was not in the midst of the people. I have been going to some or the other corner of the country since the last five years and there is a conviction behind this, that in a democracy, you cannot run the country in air-conditioned rooms through babus. The country is extremely big and is filled with several qualities, which is why we have to make efforts to go into the midst of people and talk to the common man. And I have been doing it continuously.
Now that I am going into an election, it is an undertaking of thanksgiving for me. I am going to thank the people for the support they have given us for the last five years. They gave us their blessings. Even in the toughest of times, the country has stood by me. I remember exactly how during the time of demonetisation, the 'vested interest' groups, who were losing their notes, whose games were ending, they tried everything in the book to instigate the people of this nation. They kept showing long queues, even TV channels kept showing queues. It was the belief of the common man, it was the faith of the common man in the government that nothing happened. 80% of the currency changed and the people of the country heartily extended their support.
There were many such moments, many such moments after Pulwama, that the government might not have survived after a day. The government may not have survived, the deaths of 40 jawans is not a small thing. But the country had faith, they showed patience, they thought 'there is Modi ji and he will definitely do something, he must not be at fault, he must have not done anything wrong'. And the nation showed it. Which is why, right now, the political programmes that are on, and as far as the spark in the eye in concerned, I see more spark in the eyes of the people of the nation. This time the spark is about self-confidence. Earlier the spark that could be seen in the eyes of the people, the red in their eyes was of anger against the then government. This time you will see the shade of serenity of the moon in their eyes, it's their blessing for the Modi government.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: I want to ask you Modiji, you talked about demonetisation, you said people backed you.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Will you have tea?
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Let me help you serve
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: I am a master at it. (lifts the kettle…Laughs)
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Thank you. You said people backed you during demonetisation. Whatever issues they faced, they adapted but experts say that demonetisation led to unemployment, it impacted the economic growth. They say we are not where we could have been economically. I would like to ask you Modiji- people say that your promise of 10 crore jobs was not fulfilled- so why should they vote for you?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: First thing- demonetisation. People are running away from these questions but I am confident of facing them. Those who lost their money, those who would sleep on stashes of cash, who would store sacks full of notes in their garages- you can't analyse demonetisation from their perspective. If you have to analyse it, you will have to look at it from the perspective of the poor, who worked hard, toiled all their life but did not see a thousand rupee note in their entire life. You will have to look at it from their point of view. You will have to look at it from the point of view of a government officer, who despite having worked hard for 20 years of his life, yet rides a bicycle. Who sends his children to govt schools.
Who would take them to a small city in the same state or some relative's place for vacations? When such a person sees that in the house opposite his lives another babu of the same category, whose kids go to expensive schools, whose kids are dropped in cars, who goes to the best hospitals for their treatment, who goes to Dubai and Singapore for vacations. Evaluate demonetisation from the point of view of that govt servant who rides a bicycle. When you see it from their point of view, you will realise the importance of the decision. The tears of those who lost their money haven't dried yet but there is a spark in the eyes of the poor.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Modiji, I would like to ask you that all opposition leaders criticised demonetisation. Three years down the line I would like to ask you that if you have to look them in the eye and tell them that again that your decision was right, will you do it?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: I took the decision after a lot of thought. I worked in the interest of the nation and there has been an increase in the faith that people repose in my honesty after the decision. This is why nobody has the courage to look me in the eye and question me over it
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: So who are your challengers? Is it Rahul Gandhi or Mamata Banerjee or Akhilesh Yadav or Mayawati or Chandrababu Naidu? Who is your challenger?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Modi's biggest challenger is Modi himself. I have always challenged myself all my life. I have always told him how could he stop after doing just so much when he is capable of doing a lot more. Why have you stopped here when you can walk a lot more? Will you restrict your thoughts to just this- think bigger. Modi has challenged himself and surpassed himself all the time. Modi has always tried to improve himself and even at this moment- Modi is challenging Modi. I am challenging myself that I- in the next five years will work faster to achieve the dreams of the common people. On how could I do things differently? How would I take the world along in the coming five years? This is a challenge to Modi. Modi himself challenges Modi and will continue doing so.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: I would like to ask you, when you question yourself and when you check your record- this criticism that arises- as you said from a section who were caused trouble because of it- but a lot of people have said that the unorganised labour, the MSMEs have been hit. Do you ask yourself that your decision- which was a kind of surgical strike on corruption- but the collateral damage
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: The thing that caused problems for the poor people for the last 3-4 decades- it's possible that it was inconvenient for some time, and I had said this publicly that time too. However, I also said that it would be beneficial in the long run, it'll give security for the upcoming generations. There is both formal and informal economics. The aspirations of the middle class are being fulfilled. Poor people got satisfaction- that now there is someone who understands the importance of our work. That's why I'm saying that this criticism is purely political and by the handful of people who are selfish and have lost something by this exercise.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: People say that there are two types of governance styles in India, one is Modiji's governance style, and one Rahul Gandhi says is his - the one he is implementing in Congress-ruled states. He says that they unite people, but they don't divide them. He has promised subsidies in the form of NYAY and farm loan waivers which he says the Modi government does not provide. What do you have to say about this?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: First of all, I am grateful to TIMES NOW and to both of you for asking a question that generally even top political experts, economists and those who know governance have not even thought of yet. I am considering your question in a very positive manner. After Independence, there have been various models of governance in India and I would want that political pundits and economists also think about this. One model of governance is what the Left had- in Tripura, West Bengal and Kerala. Second is those who are ideologically similar to Congress but due to some reason broke off from the party. Familial politics and regional politics is part of that and they form a specific group.
The third is Congress and the fourth is the BJP. India has seen these four forms of governance. I would want that a hundred parameters must be considered and the governance of these four types of political groups should be judged according to this. They must judge all these four types of governance. This should be seen on the basis of performance, not perception. Secondly, their work culture, ethics, ethos and leadership qualities must be judged. Who gets more screen space on TV, whose pictures are printed in newspapers more often - decisions are not taken on this basis. I can say with full faith that if the question you have just asked is thought about further, the country will greatly benefit.
You must also ask people to research about this, and see which form of governance is the best. I can say with full faith that the principles that Mahatma Gandhi had - that whenever you take a decision see what effect that will have on the common man, you will see this in our promises. We have increased the pace of development, we have focussed on having a strong foundation, we have not doled out things as election gimmicks, we have never run government with the sole aim of winning elections. I will never be in favour of running governments just to win elections. We run governments for the country, not for our party. This is our biggest strength. Whatever we do is for the country. Whatever we do is for the 130 crore people in the country.
That is why, poor have been asking for years - that they are from the same society, we must listen to their problems too. We had the strength to give them 10% reservation. Whichever decisions have been taken with regard to reservation before, there have been protests and violence. We took such a big decision but there was no violence in the nation. During Vajpayee's rule, we made Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand out of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh out of Uttarakhand and smoothly these small states became the epitome of development. Only Andhra Pradesh was divided during the Congress rule and till today people are not satisfied. This is because of the difference in the method of doing things. You look at any other example, you'll find the same thing.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: You spoke about Andhra Pradesh. You have been determined while taking decisions and have taken path changing decisions with respect to the poor but people are saying till today that black money has not been curbed. In this election itself, so many cash seizures have been made. People say that somewhere or the other, if Modiji comes back it will not be with as much majority and you will need new alliance partners. Buzz is around about Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh and KCR in Telangana.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: There is a huge difference, and this needs to be admitted. Earlier, people had accepted that survival without black money was not possible, it was ubiquitous and corruption was a way of life. Today, people know that you can work and move ahead with honesty. Due to that, honesty has been given more weight and dishonesty is being shunned. Even today, the things that are quickly getting caught would not even get caught for 25 years earlier. It's been only a few months that the new Madhya Pradesh government was elected, and so many wrongs have come to light. This is because the entire environment has been made honest. Otherwise, it would have remained hidden for a few years and then it would be revealed, even then it would only be probed on paper and culprits would get away.
Today, it is being caught with proof. The second issue is, what about the decisions that are taken after elections? BJP will win with full majority and with more votes and seats than we won earlier. Even our alliance partners will get greater number of seats and our vote share will increase in different states too. When I can see that support that we have from the people, I can see the result of our work- then there is no question of having any such need. The country has decided to elect a strong government with full majority. The country has decided to elect BJP again.
However, we are not the Congress which is arrogant - they said in Panchavati that they did not need any allies. Governments are formed with majority and run with majority, but it only works with consensus. If a huge country like India needs to be run, even a party with a single member is important and that's why we will get the opportunity to run the country again. But as a politician, it is my duty that we take into account our enemies' opinions while taking decisions.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: I want to ask you about some opinion polls that we conducted. I know opinion polls sometimes can be wrong, but one thing that came out of it was that in the Hindi heartland where you won over 90% seats in 2014, due to incumbency you may not win the same number of seats again. You have already seen the results in MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan. You would need to win seats elsewhere to make up for losses in Hindi heartland. West Bengal is one such state where BJP has focussed. What are your chances of winning in Bengal?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: First of all, this talk of whether we have focussed on Bengal politically is wrong. You would have heard my speech at the National Council in 2013. In that speech I presented a vision for India, I was not the PM candidate then. I had said that if we want to develop India, the growth has to be even across the country. Western India has seen quite a lot economic activity, be it Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab.
But in the East where a large quantity of natural resources are present, where manpower is huge, it has a lot of ideas. If you look at bureacracy, a large number of them are from Eastern India. A lot of news anchors are from Eastern India. Such a region full of opportunities has been left behind in terms of growth. I want to develop the eastern part of India. I want to create opportunities there. Eastern India should be like western India in terms of growth. For this Kolkata needs to be the epicentre of growth.
If that doesn't happen this dream is not possible. Therefore, Bengal and Kolkata are a key part of our vision for growth of eastern India. Earlier, we tried to help the state government in Bengal as much as possible, but development is not their priority. They are just worried about their politics and their votebank. Then we realised that the only tribute to the great leaders of Bengal would be that we develop the state. Bengal should become the driving force for growth in India. We are working in their direction. Who forms the government there is a small matter
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: There is violence in Bengal, we reported it yesterday during polling.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: If there is neutrality in media left, then they should definitely compare two states. In J&K that is often in news for terror attacks, panchayat polls were held in every village, thousands of candidates were elected but there was not a single incident of violence. In Lok Sabha elections there was no violent incident in J&K. In Bengal, panchayat polls happened and several people were killed. A BJP worker was hanged to death but media didn't discuss that.
The way Bengal is moving towards violence, the way those who perpetrate this are being shielded, the state is moving in the direction in which Kashmir moved in 1980s when Hindus were forced to flee. In Bengal, this is the start of such an incident and it must be looked at seriously.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: You have been watching political discourse for quite some time. There is a difference in the way adversaries reacted then, but today there are more personal attacks. There is more venom in political discourse. If I add to this, several say that you have peaked in several states like Rajasthan, MP & UP in 2014. If the situation changes this time, people say that you may lose a few seats and in some of the seats, the numbers game could change. Do you think will there be a situation when there is room for dialogue?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Some in Lutyens media set a theory and they start pushing it to build a narrative. Some innocent people fall in their trap. They are asking the same question that you are asking. There is no relation between these predictions and the ground reality. We will win more seats than before, our vote share will increase. Even in states that we were not weak our presence will increase. Therefore, I believe that these ifs and buts situation is only to create confusion. They have no relation to ground reality.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Even in Uttar Pradesh where there is a gathbandhan you are confident?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: I want to say to you with full confidence again and again. Even if 10 reporters ask me, I will say the same. Even if I am asked this 1000 times I will say the same.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: But how many seats will you win?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: You see this discussion was happening before 2014 elections, it happened before state polls in U.P when Cong-SP came together. The nation doesn't work like this, times have changed. Young voters think differently, women voters vote independently. The villages have reformed.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: You won't make a prediction?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: I am predicting, I am not an astrologer, I am a student of political science. I have travelled through the villages of India. I may be the only political worker who has worked in more than 450 Lok Sabha constituencies. Therefore, I know the ground reality.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Let's move on and talk about Pulwama. What happened in Pulwama was very painful. The reaction that you formulated meant that there were many variables to be considered. How did you do that?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: You should understand that after the dastardly Pulwama attack no patriotic Indian could afford to sit back. There are two reasons. One thing is the immediate anger. But if we remain silent at a time like this, then the perpetrators will get into the habit of thinking that the government is not strong and that they can get away. If action had been taken after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Pulwama would not have happened.
There was the 9/11 attack in America. Since 9/11, there has not been a single major incident apart from some individual acts. It's because their government showed its strength. Whenever such incidents happened in the past in India, even when the Pandits were driven out of the Kashmir Valley, if strong steps had been taken at that time then we would not have faced 40 years of terrorism and lost thousands of soldiers. But at that time politics got in the way, vote banks got in the way. My life is outside the circle of power, politics and elections. Elections are a part of our democratic process. It's everybody's responsibility including me. But for the sake of elections, the country cannot be allowed to be destroyed. For the sake of elections, the lives of our brave jawans cannot be destroyed. This is my principle.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Are you saying this for the people who say that Balakot happened because you had to win an election?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: It's a reflection of their thinking. They have never thought that there is something called national policy which is much bigger than politics. This is beyond their understanding. I find it very painful to even descend into this kind of argument. It's better for me not to get into their argument. But the sacrifice of 40 jawans meant the striking of a new warning bell of the danger facing the nation. This had to be answered. You see that every day there are encounters and every week terrorists are being killed. You would have seen over the past few years the government has been pro-active.
Government pro-actively identifies terrorists and engages them in gunfights. Our people are also martyred but overall the government is pro-active. I had decided after the Uri attack that now the time had come to carry out action where the terrorists get shelter and weapons and where they get their training. That is why on the very first day I gave a free hand to the Army. I had said it publicly, I did not hide it that they have a free hand. They collected intelligence. I told them that I don't have any problem with the people of Pakistan. I don't want to hurt the people of Pakistan. I said that our operations should be such that there is no harm done to the people of Pakistan. We carried out the operation very carefully. Balakot was a very successful operation. It boosted the morale of our armed forces. Now the terrorists will have to think 50 times before doing anything.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: It used to be said that there was an element of strategic restraint in our policy. When you took the decision to carry out the Balakot air strike, did you take world leaders into confidence? Have we abandoned the policy of strategic restraint which you said held India back after the 26/11 attacks? Will we now act from provocation to provocation?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: The first thing is that this term 'strategic restraint' is a means to hide your shortcomings. You have very nicely put a cloak over your failures and inability to take decisions with the use of this terminology. The world only seeks the powerful. Decisions are not taken after asking the world. India takes its own independent decisions. I had clearly said that the Army had been given a free hand. Action happened ten days later. I did not go to ask the world. But I also did not hide it from the world. I had clearly said that I have not tied the hands of the armed forces and that I have given them a free hand.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: And what about the people who say that they need evidence of the Balakot air strike, and the people who say nothing happened, it was environmental terrorism, only a few tree fell during the air strike?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: We should question those who live in our country and hail Pakistan. Why do they speak Pakistan's language? Even after the 26/11 attack they almost released a book giving a clean chit to Pakistan. What kind of mentality is this? Even Pakistan had accepted that its people were involved in the terror attack but here in India they were saying there was no Pakistani involvement. It is sad that people who live in this country question and make such statements. As far as the proof is concerned, first of all, who announced the airstrike first?
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Pakistan
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Pakistan
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Pakistan. If nothing would have happened, why would they announce? Secondly, after the Uri surgical strike, Pakistan showed the media that nothing had happened within 24 hours, because in a radius of 250 kms any corner can be shown. It is easy. Why did Pakistan not let media visit the Balakot airstrike site for 43 days? Even today, ordinary citizens are not permitted to go there. Why is that?
Thirdly, If you look at the statements released by Pakistan, they have said they want to talk to the Prime Minister, they want to talk about restrain, they were so rattled after their F-16 aircraft was shot down that they denied it and said it was an Indian aircraft, their pilot was killed, they claim an Indian pilot was killed, their pilot was in the hospital, they say our pilot was in the hospital. Why should we trust Pakistan? And the real tragedy is that the people living in India won't believe in India, won't believe in forces, won't believe in our jawans or our achievements but will believe in statements made by some Pakistanis instead.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: When we talk about statements made by Pakistan, Imran Khan had earlier said that there can be no peace between the two nations till the Modi government is in power. And when the Congress quoted Imran Khan, BJP said that they are talking like Congress and now Pakistan says that it is the Modi government that can resolve issues between the two nations, then you say it's a fixed match.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: See, what were they saying during the election campaign? They were saying ' jo Modi ka yaar hai, woh gaddar hai', that was their slogan. Secondly, do you think that the voter will get influenced by their clever tactics? There is a match-fixing between them and Pakistan. They make a statement here in India and that becomes the headline in Pakistan that's when you know there is match-fixing.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Sir you are so passionate about these issues - that there has to be no compromise with terror - then people ask these questions that didn't you compromise on ideology after forming an alliance with Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu and Kashmir? You know what she stands for, you know what her policies are. Yet you came together with her. Was it a mistake?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Firstly, the results in Jammu and Kashmir had thrown a fractured mandate. We had won the maximum number of seats but we were not in the position to form a government. We did not even stake claim for it. We thought that the PDP-NC will form a minimum common program and form a government in the state in the interest of the people and we will play the role of the opposition. For months the state was under Governor's rule. There was no progress. After that Mufti Senior thought that something needs to be done. So he made a proposal. That day we said it publicly that we are polar opposites and our ideologies do not concur - We had told the country about it, nothing was hidden from anyone. We thought that we would go ahead keeping the development projects of the state in mind. We came up with a minimum programme and went ahead with it.
Till the time Mufti ji was there, developmental projects were given a priority. Construction of roads, schools and hospitals picked pace. We too felt that if we could keep the other issues aside and focus on these issues, the work for the common people should not halt. Unfortunately, he passed away. Mehboobaji came to power. She was in a dilemma of sorts. A Governor's rule was imposed, she did not want to return to power. We went along with it. We thought that if a Governor's rule is imposed there is going to be another kind of resistance across the nation. The house remained in suspended animation. Mehboobaji agreed after a couple of months. We went ahead with it again.
The issue of Panchayat elections came up. We believed that if the state has to progress it was imperative to give some powers to the panchayats. They will have to be given funds directly from the Centre. We would have to trust them with the responsibility of carrying out development work at their level. She was unwilling to give in. She said it would lead to violence and bloodshed, there will be thousands of candidates, they would not be able to provide security cover to the candidates, more than 5000 people will be martyred. She was trying to scare us.
The decision was pending for over three cabinet meetings. In the end we said that they can go ahead with what they want and we would go our way. So we left the alliance, that too without any argument. You saw we were right. President's rule was imposed in the state. We organised Panchayat elections, there was 70-80 percent voting, panchayats swung back into action. Funds from the Central government are going directly to the Panchayats. Their needs are being looked after. We had said the same thing when we formed the alliance- that we are like oil and water- we had said back then too and I agree to that fact that such mahamilawat (alliances) don't last very long. It was the need of the hour and we went ahead with it.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Are you calling it a Mahamilawat?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: I believe that my own government during that time was like oil and water but it was the need of the hour
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Congress has mentioned AFSPA in their manifesto and said that they are going to review it or dilute it. They say that there is a need for a healing touch because the NDA's policies have led to a lot of imbalance, there is a lot of violence and that this is needed. Do you think that the way you have created pressure, you need some course correction?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: We follow the principles of Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. Humanity, Democracy and Kashmiriyat. We are treading this path. We and the country are ready for extra healing touch for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. There can only be hitting touch for terrorists. We will have to make a clear demarcation that healing touch is for the citizens and hitting touch for the terrorists. They believe in the exact opposite of this.
They want a healing touch for separatists and terrorists and hitting touch for Central government. This is wrong. This extra healing touch- see the policemen who are dying are from Kashmir, the army jawans who come home for weddings in their families are being killed - they need a healing touch. There are children who are making the country proud in sports competitions, they need a healing touch. They need an extra healing touch. I am willing to walk the extra mile to provide them that but there will be no healing touch to separatists and terrorists. I will not let them be given that treatment and will only give them hitting touch.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: There is a lot of debate over citizenship bill. We spoke to BJP chief who said that it will not be limited to North-East, it will be implemented across India. He said that all the infiltrators will be marked and the process of sending them away will begin. Mamata Banerjee calls this an attempt to target Muslims
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: In this country, there is a problem with some hyper-secular people who give communal colour to even vaccination for children. The debate on population is given communal colour, debate on languages is given communal colour. There is a problem with them, the hyper-secular people can't be rid of this disease. The country can't run according to their whims and fancy. But the Congress that keeps making false promises, their list of false promises includes NRC. The father of our naamdar leader when he was PM he signed Assam accord to implement NRC.
Congress didn't fulfil that promise for last 30 years, Congress fooled people of Assam. When the matter reached SC, it passed certain orders. When we formed govt at the Centre, we implemented those orders as we respect the Supreme Court. After implementing NRC, what we have found is worrying. There should be a debate over NRC. Can any country in the world be a dharamshala? Is there any country in the world which doesn't have a register of citizens. Shouldn't it be there or not? Questions should be asked of those who refused to maintain a register of citizens for 70 years. There was no national register for citizens, those who failed to do it for 70 years are guilty. They should be the one answering questions. Those working honestly for the country, if he is asked this question then it is unfortunate. If a register is kept to keep record of all citizens in the country, how is it communal?
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-in-chief: You spoke about 'hitting' touch to tackle terrorism, but you have fielded a terror accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur to contest against Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal. Don't you think, it is a contradiction as people say Sadhvi Pragya is a divisive figure who talks about Hindu-Muslim only?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: When in 1984 Indira Gandhi died, her son said when a big tree falls the earth shakes. Thereafter, there were thousands of Sikhs who were massacred. Was it not terror? Was it not terror unleashed by a few people? Despite that he was made PM and the neutral media never asked a question like it is doing now. Those who were identified by eyewitnesses, those who lead murderous mobs were made MPs, some were made cabinet ministers, one was recently made CM of Madhya Pradesh. Those who are facing such serious charges were never questioned. Therefore this talk should be ended. Those who have been convicted by the courts, people go and hug them, meet them in jail, meet them when them are shifted to hospitals, can they preach? Should the Amethi & Rae Bareli candidates who are out on bail not be questioned? But a Bhopal BJP candidate is out on bail and is fighting elections, there is a huge hue and cry. A woman, a Sadhvi was tortured like this, no one raised a finger.
I have lived in Gujarat, I understand the modus operandi of Congress. Like a film script, Congress works to build a narrative. They will pick something, add something to it, add a villain to the story to build a false script for propaganda. In Gujarat, whatever encounters used to take place, they would prepare a script accordingly. In Judge Loya case, he died a natural death but the same modus operandi was used to build a narrative that he was killed. The same modus operandi was followed to build false narrative using videos around EVM, DeMo. This is their modus operandi. Samjhauta verdict came, what happened. They defamed a 5000-old culture that believes in Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam. They called them terrorists. To answer them all, this is a symbol and it will cost Congress
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Prime Minister sir, there is another controversy, and the issue is about something that you say you have zero tolerance for, it's about corruption and it's the matter of Rafale. On 14th December 2018, a judgment in the case had come after which some more facts in the case came to the fore and they were again admitted in the Supreme Court.
And the position taken by your govt in the matter was this - that these documents are not admissible in the court because they were stolen documents. Never did anybody say that the documents were wrong, it was only said that they are stolen. I want to ask, if there is nothing to hide in the Rafale deal, then what's the objection with making them public or examining them again?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Look, for the Congress party, defence deals have been an ATM. And in every defence deal, there is some or the other scam, which is why, it was taken as granted, that even after us coming to power, the trend will continue. So they thought they will peddle lies and it will be accepted. The CAG rejected it, the Supreme Court rejected it. But keeping elections in mind, they are dragging the matter. And stolen doesn't literally mean this, by stolen it was meant that they had xerox copied documents and given to the court, all the other required documents we had already submitted to the court in a sealed envelope. Nothing has been hidden from the Supreme Court. And those who are trying to play politics over it, we are opposed to that.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: I would like to ask you this sir, about the matter of jobs, your govt had said that it will give 10 crore jobs after five years. I would like to say this, a lot of figures have come in from here and there in newspapers.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: The country does not run on numbers that come from here and there. It doesn't run on numbers from here and there and I have understood your question and I have given a straight answer in the Parliament, I have given a detailed answer. You tell me, the CII is an independent agency, it has given numbers about how many crores of people have been given jobs.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: You have said that you would give an account.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: I say that and I have given an account in the Parliament, I have counted and given an account in the Parliament on how employment has seen a rise. You tell me, 17 crore have got loans from Mudra Yojana without bank guarantee. In that, 4.5 crores have attained it in the very first time, why would he take it, why would he take the money? He must have started something to earn money. He will stand on his feet.
If your railways is doing double the work versus earlier, if double the tracks have been laid down and double the electrification has been done, would all of this have been done without jobs? Double the roads are being built, is it happening without jobs. Unlike earlier, work gets done in lesser time and efficiency has increased, is it being done without manpower? Metro trains are being built, is that happening without manpower? Which is why, if something does not have any basis is floated and Congress is trying to spread lies and that is carried by some Lutyens media agencies, I can understand that. But TIMES NOW cannot do that.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: But Modi sir, there is one question that arises from this, why are we not getting clear figures on this?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: They haven't made any mechanism for accurate data in 70 years. We are trying to build mechanisms that will provide perfect data and it will be built.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Modi ji, in elections.....
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: But in our nation, more than 80% of informal economy and informal employment exists. Only 15-16% is formal. So you can only have an account of this 15-16%, for the other 80%, you need to have a new mechanism. It's informal. All of these people who are standing here, they might be shown as unemployed in the govt data. All these people who are standing here.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Because that data has not been collected
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: And even then they are all earning, you ask them, it's not like they are not earning. I believe that they must be earning, TIMES NOW must not be making them work for free. It must be giving them money and they are earning. But they will not be in the records of the govt.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: Modi ji, it's election season and there is pressure on time, I would like to ask you this, there is a charge by the opposition that a lot of raids have been taking place, and 20-22 people who have been raided are from the opposition and only one or half of them are from the BJP. So is the state machinery being misused to muzzle the voice of the opposition, this charge has been levelled.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: When the code of conduct kicks in during election, all machinery is run by the Election Commission, we don't have any provision to run them independently, the EC does it. And the other point is this, there is code of conduct and let's say a car is involved in an accident, will an FIR be lodged or not? And if a person from a political party is sitting in it, will the FIR not be filed, has he become a superhuman?
Let's say there is a group that is travelling in a train and a neta is taking them without any ticket, and if we catch them, is that a (breach of) code of conduct? Whatever is happening according to the law and rules, the departments look into it, we have no role in it. There are a lot of things that even I come to know through newspapers or the tv or through social media, that something like this has happened. The other point is that is the most amusing thing is that they have found evidence in all the cases.
The raids have been carried out based on information and they have found stacks and stacks of notes. And the biggest fact is that the money that was recovered in Madhya Pradesh was meant for the care and nutrition of children, which was for poor pregnant women, they are eating off those funds, that money has been seized. The country today must debate that why even today does the Congress dare to commit such sins as soon as they come to power somewhere. It's barely been a few months since they came to power in Madhya Pradesh and they have already started sinning. And to stifle debates on these issues, they keep crying foul over the raids, that they are being raided. Forget who is being raided, but aren't incriminating recoveries being made from those who were raided?
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR, Editor-In-Chief: Accountability, maybe there is no accountability, which is why people become emboldened. We have last one or two questions for you. In 2014, you had made people count the 'ABCD' of corruption, in that ABC & D, D for Damaad Shri, he is still out. Not a lot has happened in Agusta case, the chargesheet hasn't been made. So there has been no accountability, which is why I think that, I am taking your thought forward, that this is why people think that in India, if you do wrong things, you will get away with it.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Nobody believes that anymore, this is your imagination. The second thing, it the income tax department that carries out raids, your other question is about political vendetta. If I don't take any action, even then I am responsible. These two things do not sit together. So first it needs to be decided which side of the scale you want to be on. All these cases that are on, they are following due legal course, we don't do anything out of political vendetta, we go by legal laws. During our rule, did a 'mahamilavati' Chief Minister not go to jail? Is he not sitting in jail? Even now, for some section of the media, he is a hero. But is he in jail or not? The other matter is, this Congress party, who have ruled for four generations, could they have ever fathomed that today they would be out on bail.
The government doesn't decide who will be out on bail, it's the court that has given them bail, this has happened to them. You must have seen this, that the man who used to be their finance minister, every second day he goes to the court to get a date, and because he has been a very big lawyer he even gets a benefit. He keeps getting a date, but the day he stops getting a date, he will also face the same fate. We have set a certain precedent but some people have asked for preventive bail, so the right to avail the law is given to every individual. They have also used the law and even the govt uses the law. But soon, the truth will come out.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: But people also raise questions about Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, that they have left the country and post-facto action is being taken against them and talks are on about extraditing them but how did they flee and how were they allowed to flee?
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: They fled because they knew that such a govt has come into power that their way of living - taking loans from banks on paper and then submitting the money in the banks, continuing with their games and having fun - all of it will end in Modi raj. They knew they will have to give the money back, when they knew time has come for them to pay up, it was natural that they tried to benefit from the system and fled. But why don't you talk about this in the nation, that the time that has been wasted on tv over the three people, in the one-tenth of that time, we brought back Michel 'mama', let's talk about that, we brought back Saxena, let's talk about that,
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: We spoke about that in TIMES NOW
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: We brought back Deepak Talwar, let's talk about that, the country's media must also talk about those who we have brought back. Talk about those who are languishing in London's jail. We have made a new law that empowers us to seize the properties of those who have fled the country. We are making efforts to bring every penny that they stole and fled. In 2014, the people of this country put me in power and by 2019 I have brought these people close to the doors of prison and after 2019, I will ensure that these people are put inside jails. Because those who have looted the nation, will have to return every penny stole, I have embarked on this mission.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: You seem to be very sure that we will meet right here again. One more milestone is coming for India in 2022 - India at 75.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: For the first time we have given a manifesto like this - in which people can judge us before 5 years of our term are over, not only once our term is complete. We have decided 75 steps that must be completed in the 75 years since independence. We will fulfill these 75 steps too and give an answer before 2022. This has happened for the first time in India's political history that a government in the middle of its tenure is ready to answer its people. It takes strength. The year when India completes 75 years should be like a festival for our 125 crore countrymen.
The mood that was developed for independence should be the mood for development. The spirit of sacrifice that was there for independence, the same spirit should be there for development. For example when it comes to cleanliness, the media has helped me a lot. In the run-up to 2022, both those who agree and disagree with us should create an atmosphere for India to move ahead. I give your viewers good wishes and thank you. There could have been some things I said that you did not like, my intention was not to hurt you. I agree that there is a need for neutrality in the country and when anyone asks for our report card, we are always ready to give it.
NAVIKA KUMAR, Managing Editor: There are many questions but time is always less. Hopefully we get another opportunity to interview you after 2022.
NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister: Thank you.