PM participates in Rashtriya Ekta Diwas celebrations in Kevadia

Published By : Admin | October 31, 2022 | 08:15 IST
“ Path of duty and responsibility has led me to be here but my heart is with the victims of the Morbi mishap”
“Entire country is drawing inspiration from the resolute determination of Sardar Patel”
“Sardar Patel’s Jayanti and Ekta Diwas are not merely dates on the calendar for us, they are grand celebrations of India’s cultural strength”
“Slave mentality, selfishness, appeasement, nepotism, greed and corruption can divide and weaken the country”
“We have to counter the poison of divisiveness with the Amrit of Unity”
“Government schemes are reaching every part of India while connecting the last person without discrimination”
“The smaller the gap between the infrastructure, the stronger the unity”
“A museum will be built in Ekta Nagar dedicated to the sacrifice of the royal families who sacrificed their rights for the unity of the country”

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi paid homage to Sardar Patel at the Statue of Unity and participated in the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas-related events today

At the outset, the Prime Minister expressed his deep anguish for the victims of the mishap in Morbi yesterday. He said that even though he is in Kevadia, his heart remains connected to the victims of the mishap in Morbi. “On one hand, there is a heart laden with grief, while on the other there is the path of Karma and Kartavya, he said. He underlined that it is the path of duty and responsibility that has led him here at the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. The Prime Minister paid deep condolences to all those who lost their lives in yesterday’s mishap and assured that the government is standing shoulder to shoulder with the families of the victims. The state government has been engaging in rescue work and the central government is providing every possible assistance. The Prime Minister informed that NDRF teams have been deployed in rescue operations other than teams from the army and air force while assistance is also being provided to hospitals that are treating the injured. He also noted that the Chief Minister of Gujarat reached the Morbi to take the lead in executing rescue operations and formed a committee to investigate the occurrences. The Prime Minister assured the people of the country that there will be no shortcomings when it comes to rescue operations. The cultural programme segment of the event was cancelled in light of the tragedy.

The Prime Minister underlined the significance of Ekta Diwas in 2022 as “it is the year when we completed 75 years of our Independence and we are moving ahead with new resolutions.” The Prime Minister said that unity is essential at every stage, be it family, society or nation. This feeling is manifested, he said, all over the country in the form of 75,000 Ekta Runs everywhere. “Entire country is drawing inspiration from the resolute determination of Sardar Patel. Every citizen is taking a pledge for the unity of the country and to evoke ‘Panch Pran’”, he said.

The Prime Minister said, “It is difficult to imagine a situation if our Independence struggle was not led by leaders like Sardar Patel. What would have happened if more than 550 princely states were not amalgamated?” “What would have happened”, asked the Prime Minister, “if our Princely states would have not shown a deep sense of sacrifice and faith in Maa Bharati. This impossible task was completed by Sardar Patel”, he added. “Sardar Patel’s Jayanti and Ekta Diwas are not merely dates on the calendar for us, they are grand celebrations of India’s cultural strength. For India, Unity was never a compulsion, it was always a feature of our country. Unity has been our uniqueness”, the Prime Minister emphasised. He said in a calamity like the one that happened in Morbi yesterday, the entire country comes forward as one and people offer prayer and assistance from every part of the country. During the time of the pandemic, this unity was on full display in the emotional unison of ‘tali-thali’ to cooperation in medicine, ration and vaccine. The same emotions are witnessed during sporting successes, and festivals and when our borders are threatened and our soldiers protect them. All this, said the Prime Minister, symbolises the depth of India’s unity. This unity, he continued, was a thorn in the sides of invaders over the centuries and they tried to dilute it by sowing division, however, their designs were foiled by the nectar of unity that was a live stream in our consciousness. He asked everyone to remain vigilant as powers envious of India’s growth and progress are still active and efforts are on to foment division on the basis of caste, region, language and history too is presented in a divisive way. He also warned against the slave mentality, selfishness, appeasement, nepotism, greed and corruption that can divide and weaken the country. “We have to counter the poison of divisiveness with the Amrit of Unity”, he added.

The Prime Minister remarked, “On the occasion of Ekta Diwas, I would like to reiterate the responsibility handed out by Sardar Saheb.” He said that it was the responsibility of the citizens to strengthen the unity of the nation and this will happen only if every citizen of the country readies themselves to carry out the duties with a sense of responsibility. “With this sense of responsibility, Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas will become a reality and India will move forward on the path of development,” the Prime Minister said. He stated that government policies are reaching every person in the country without any discrimination. Giving examples, the Prime Minister highlighted that free vaccines are made available to the people of Siang in Arunachal Pradesh as easily as the people in Surat, Gujarat. Medical institutions like AIIMS can now be found not just in Gorakhpur but also in Bilaspur, Darbhanga, Guwahati, Rajkot and other parts of the country as well. He informed that the development work of defence corridors is in full swing not just in Tamil Nadu but also in Uttar Pradesh. The Prime Minister noted that even though different languages are spoken in different areas, the government schemes are reaching every part of India while connecting the last person in the queue.

Throwing light on how millions of people in our country waited for decades to avail basic needs, the Prime Minister said, “The smaller the gap between the infrastructure, the stronger the unity” He noted that India is working on the principle of saturation with the objective that the benefit of every scheme should reach every beneficiary. The Prime Minister gave examples of schemes like Housing for All, Digital Connectivity for All, Clean Cooking for All, and Electricity for All. The Prime Minister stated that the mission of reaching 100% citizens is not limited to similar facilities but stresses a common objective of united goals, united development and united effort. The Prime Minister highlighted that the basic necessities of life are becoming a medium for the common man's faith in the country and the Constitution and are also acting as a medium for the confidence of the common man. Remarking on this is the vision of Sardar Patel's India, the Prime Minister said, “Every Indian will have equal opportunities, and there will be a sense of equality. Today the country is witnessing that vision come true.”

Recalling that in the last 8 years, the country has given priority to every segment which had been neglected for decades, the Prime Minister stated that the country has started the tradition of celebrating Tribal Pride Day to remember the pride of the tribals. In this regard, the Prime Minister informed that tribal museums are being built in many states of the country. The Prime Minister urged the countrymen to know the history of Mangarh Dham and Jambughoda and said that freedom was achieved in the face of many massacres carried out by foreign invaders. He added, “Only then will we be able to understand the value of freedom and the value of solidarity.”

The Prime Minister remarked that Ekta Nagar is developing as a model city of India which will be unprecedented not only in the country but in the whole world. He underlined that it is the unity of the people and the city that is developing with the power of public participation while giving it not just a grand but a divine standpoint. “The inspiration for the world's largest statue in the form of the Statue of Unity is among us”, Shri Modi added.

Throwing light on the development model of Ekta Nagar, the Prime Minister said that city will be discussed when people will talk about an environment-friendly model, an electricity-saving model with LEDs illuminating the country, a model of clean transport system running on solar power, and a model of conservation of different species of animals and birds. The Prime Minister recalled yesterday when he got the opportunity to inaugurate the Miyawaki Forest and Maze Garden here. He underlined that the Ekta Mall, Ekta Nursery, World Forest showing Unity in Diversity, Ekta Ferry, Ekta Railway Station and all these initiatives are an inspiration to strengthen national unity.

Concluding the address, the Prime Minister highlighted the role played by Sardar Saheb in the unity of the country post-independence. The Prime Minister informed that the royal families which held power for centuries dutifully sacrificed their rights to a new system for the unity of the country due to the efforts of Sardar Patel. This contribution has been neglected for decades after independence. “Now a museum dedicated to the sacrifice of those royal families will be built in Ekta Nagar. This will pass on the tradition of sacrifice for the unity of the country to the new generations”, the Prime Minister concluded.

 Background

Guided by the vision of the Prime Minister, it was decided in 2014 to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel viz. 31st October as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, to reinforce our dedication to preserve and strengthen the unity, integrity and security of the nation. The Prime Minister participated in the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas celebrations at the Status of Unity, Kevadia. The celebrations witnessed the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas Parade, which included contingents of BSF and of five State Police Forces, one each from the Northern Zone (Haryana), Western Zone (Madhya Pradesh), Southern Zone (Telangana), Eastern Zone (Odisha) and North Eastern Zone (Tripura). Apart from the contingents, six Police Sports Medal winners of the Commonwealth Games 2022 will also participate in the Parade.

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PM Modi's Interview to The Statesman
May 24, 2024

In an exclusive interview to The Statesman, PM Narendra Modi underscores the need for a strong government and a clear vision for India’s progress. He discusses plans for the middle class, youth employment, successes in Jammu and Kashmir, and Bengal’s future, highlighting the importance of a significant electoral mandate for effective governance and a Viksit Bharat by 2047.

 

Q. The middle class has been a consistent support block for the national brand of Modi. The opposition alleges that the middle class has not got its due from your government. Would you agree? And what are your plans for the middle class?

A: Over the last 10 years, we have worked tirelessly to ensure progress and prosperity for our middle class.

The first area is expanding the middle class and to lift people from poverty. For a long time since Indian independence, for 70 years, there was a push from the top – where the middle class was being pushed into poverty and the poor into abject poverty. But today, we have effectively reversed this system; since 2014, we have recognised and celebrated the parishram of our madhyam varg. Our government ensured that while your darja in society increased, the kharcha did not – because our policies are not meant to extort, but to support.

Twenty five crore people have risen up to join the neo middle class and most importantly, we have changed the narrative that the middle class is one bill away from slipping into poverty. The growth we have achieved is irreversible and here to stay – the only way to go is to climb upwards.

Rs. 11 lakh crore has been spent for infrastructure development in the country encompassing diverse sectors – from road and rail to education and healthcare infrastructure. People belonging to the middle class are the biggest beneficiaries of this development as new opportunities in jobs, contracts and other avenues open up for them.

We have worked hard to enhance the Ease of Living for the middle class. Be it travel or the day-to-day access that they have when the government is concerned, we have ensured that the entire experience becomes quick, comfortable and hassle-free. As far as travel is concerned, the number of airports has doubled, there are 20 cities with metro rail, there are over 100 Vande Bharat trains, we have state-of-the-art expressways, the EV sector is booming and growing. On the other hand – you see how the process for getting passports, filing income tax, registering grievances or registering new companies has been made transparent, quick and without challenges.

We have ensured that the disposable income for the middle class has increased. Where every GB of internet data cost over Rs. 300, in just 10 years – the per GB cost of internet data is down to under Rs. 10. This is saving thousands of rupees every month.

The women belonging to the middle class have been empowered and are becoming job creators in their own right with MUDRA Loans, Stand Up India, GeM portal and so on.

Additionally, six crore new EPFO subscribers since 2017 and greater participation for the labour class shows that not only has employment generation increased, the absolute percentage of people participating in the nation’s growth has also increased. 5.14 crore person years of employment have been generated every year since 2014, as a recent SKOCH report has also recognised.

While all this is happening, you have to understand that there are other things at work as well – average inflation for the last 10 years has been kept under 5 per cent, income tax rates have been greatly reduced. A significant section of the middle class resides in our cities and towns, and under PMAY-Urban – for over 25 lakh beneficiaries, an interest subvention of more than Rs. 58,000 crore has been provided. So, while there are greater incomes, there is also greater savings and this has led to greater investments. Almost 7 crore beneficiaries are enrolled in the Atal Pension Yojana. Today, the middle class is partnering and investing in India’s growth – there are now over 15 crore DEMAT accounts, is this not a sign of prosperity?


Q. Are you satisfied with your efforts at providing jobs for the youth?

A: India is blessed with a demographic dividend. And this blessing comes with a responsibility of ensuring suitable and sufficient opportunities.

If you look back on the last 10 years, you will notice that we have opened up opportunities in many new and emerging sectors for our youth such as in space, defence, drones, EVs, semiconductors, AI, and much more. In many of these fields, India is now emerging as a key player on the global stage.

Today, India is the world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem. We have gone from a few start-ups in 2014 to nearly 1.37 lakh startups today, generating employment for lakhs of people. We have over 100 unicorns and our start-ups have registered over 12,000 patents. This is also led by the youth who are making the most of the opportunities they are getting.

We have provided lakhs of government jobs as well as opened up self-employment opportunities for everyone on a massive scale. The MUDRA loans sanctioned have given birth to crores of new businesses, which have started a chain reaction of employment addition and expansion of the economy. Initiatives like Stand-Up India, Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat have helped change the mindset at the grassroots level. Today, the youth of the country envision themselves as job creators.

India’s digital economy grew 2.4 times faster than the economy between 2014 and 2019, creating around 6 crore jobs. With the advent of AI and new-age Digital technology, we aim to expand job generation in this area, too.
The roads, highways, houses, and tunnels constructed require people to work. Direct and indirect jobs have been generated through the construction of Infrastructure. Infrastructure and productive capacity investments have a large multiplier impact on growth and employment. In the 2024-25 budget, we proposed increasing capital investment to Rs 11.11 lakh crore, creating additional jobs because of the multiplier impact.

EPFO payroll data shows that over six crore new subscribers have been added in the last 6 years, indicating a surge in youth employment. PLFS data shows that between 2017 and 2023, the participation rate of the Worker Population increased to over 56 per cent, and unemployment is at a low level of 3.2 per cent. So, we have employed more people compared to the population growth rate.

 

Q: Handling of Jammu and Kashmir is hailed as one of the great successes of your government. From a completely peaceful abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 to historic elections in 2024, everything seems to have gone to plan. What next for the region?

A: First of all, I would like to begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Kashmir for their overwhelming participation in the historic Lok Sabha elections of 2024. The record-breaking voter turnouts, be it in Baramulla with a whopping 59 per cent voting, breaking a 4-decade record, or the Srinagar seat witnessing 38 per cent voting in the fourth phase, the highest in 35 years, they clearly show that the decisions we took were in the right direction.

Since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, our government has worked tirelessly to restore normalcy in the region. We have achieved a drastic reduction in terror cases in the valley, thanks to the unwavering commitment of our security forces and the support of the local population. This has laid the foundation for sustainable development and growth in the region.

One of our key priorities has been to deepen democracy at the grassroots level. We have conducted elections at the panchayat and block development levels, which has led to a significant trust-building exercise. The peaceful conduct of the Lok Sabha elections is a clear indication that the people of Kashmir are ready to embrace democracy and participate in the decision-making process.

The next logical step in our plan for Jammu and Kashmir will be to restore the state assembly and statehood to further strengthen democratic institutions and ensure that the people have a greater say in the affairs of their state. We are committed to working closely with the elected representatives to address the concerns of the people and to accelerate the pace of development.

Our vision for Jammu and Kashmir is to enable the region to regain its status as a leader in various sectors. We want Jammu and Kashmir to become an educational hub, a tourism hub, an IT hub, a horticulture hub that exports to the world, and a hub for handicrafts and handlooms. We are confident that with the support of the people and the commitment of our government, we can achieve these goals and transform Jammu and Kashmir into a model of development and progress.

We will continue to work closely with the people and their elected representatives to ensure that the region achieves its full potential and becomes a beacon of hope for the entire nation.

 

Q: Just a century ago, West Bengal was seen as a leader when it came to industry, arts, culture and other sectors. What is your view on the current scenario and what according to you is the way ahead?

A: West Bengal has been a state that the whole nation has looked up to. Whether it is intellectual leadership or industrial activity, science or spirituality, literature or art, music or mathematics, the people of Bengal have played a big role in various sectors, not only nationally but also globally.

There would hardly be anyone who is untouched by the greatness of Swami Vivekananda, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Jagdish Chandra Bose and many such leaders.

When it comes to the freedom struggle, the role of Bengal goes to a different level altogether with a galaxy of leaders and revolutionaries coming from this region.

The excellent foundation that the pre-independence generation of Bengalis had set for the state was squandered completely by the Congress, Communists and Trinamool Congress governments.

Ruling for many decades, each of these parties subjected the state to misrule, mafias, corruption and poverty. Congress was always worried about the welfare of one family. TMC has become very similar. And the Communists were always anti-development. So, the people of West Bengal were subjected to great hardships and the state was turned into a laggard state.

But the core elements that made Bengal a shining star – spirit of its people, culture and ethos – are as strong as ever, just waiting for an opportunity to express themselves. I think that time is coming.

Despite having a hostile state government, we are working to leverage West Bengal’s unique strengths and address its specific challenges.

I am sure that with focused multi-sectoral reforms and good governance, the people of Bengal will make its future even brighter than the glorious past of the state.

First and foremost is that there is a need to focus on law and order. If the crucial foundations of safety and security are ensured, every sector of the economy can make great things happen.

Next, the industrial and agricultural ecosystem needs to be addressed. West Bengal has a rich history in sectors like jute, tea, and textiles. Streamlining regulations and creating a conducive environment for industrial growth can attract new investments and also strengthen the investment climate for existing players. Supporting farmers with policies that help them across things such as soil health, cold storage, irrigation, insurance and market access will give great results.

Additionally, investing in infrastructure, particularly in improving the connectivity of ports, road and rail networks, will further boost trade and industry.

West Bengal’s rich cultural heritage is also a significant asset. Celebrating and promoting the art, culture and festivals of West Bengal can attract domestic and global tourists. When combined with good infrastructure and law and order, this can go a long way in creating opportunities for young people.

The young people of Bengal are some of the brightest in the world. No matter which field they are in, they need no introduction. But due to the TMC’s misrule, today, they are often being forced to go out of the state to find high quality jobs and growth prospects. But with a planned effort to make the state a powerhouse in higher education, services, manufacturing, IT and innovation, their dreams can be fulfilled right here in Bengal itself.

 

Q. Women are acknowledged as the biggest supporters of brand Modi across India. Do you have a special message for the women of Bengal?

A: Bengal is a land blessed by Maa Durga. The Nari Shakti of Bengal, the women, is an embodiment of the divine Shakti. When they decide to bless someone, their blessings are enough to help achieve great heights.

I want the women of Bengal to know that their courage is admired by the whole nation. The way women from the poorest sections of society have stood up to the powerful goons of the ruling party in Sandeshkhali and many other places is inspirational. At the same time, women from the urban areas of Bengal have raised their voices for justice, showing solidarity. It shows that when women unite and decide that enough is enough, no force in the world can stop them.

While I admire the courage of the women of Bengal, I am also deeply pained at what they have to suffer at the hands of an insensitive ruling party that bestows impunity upon those who harass women.

The misdeeds of the TMC are fast adding up and paving the way for an exit from Bengal. The people have decided to punish the TMC, first in the Lok Sabha and later in the state assembly too.

We would like to assure the women of West Bengal that the BJP stands with you. By bringing in Rekha Patra Ji as one of our MP candidates, we have made our intentions clear that we are with the women of Bengal.

Further, we will continue to implement the existing pro-women welfare schemes such as taking tap water and gas connections to poor women for free. We will also implement our new schemes to benefit lakhs of women in Bengal.
Our initiative of creating crores of Lakhpati Didis through Self Help Groups, increased threshold for MUDRA loans, etc., will help women become more and more self-reliant. A number of new sectors like space and defence have now been opened up for women. In line with our vision of ‘Vikas bhi, Virasat bhi’ many new avenues and opportunities have been created for those who have interest in art and culture with the opening of new museums and centres.

So, my message to the women of Bengal is, the dawn of freedom from TMC’s tyranny is near.

 

Q. Kolkata earlier used to be the cultural capital of India. The city also used to be the economic hub for the entire East and North East India. What is your plan for reigniting the economic and cultural activity in Kolkata and also developing other major cities in Bengal?

A: I think the state of Bengal and Kolkata are symptoms of a larger neglect of eastern India that has been seen post-independence. In the priorities of successive Congress governments, there were no specific plans for eastern India and whatever were there, stayed on paper.

However, I have always drawn attention to the fact that eastern India needs focused work and we have worked with an ambitious plan for it.

In our rural electrification initiatives, a majority of the beneficiaries were in Eastern or Northeastern India. Whether it is the work that is going on for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor or the work that has happened for National Waterways along the Ganga, whether it is the operationalization of many airports in eastern India or the record creation of national highways, we have been giving great importance to eastern India’s infrastructure needs.

If we speak of just railways in Bengal, the average rail budget for Bengal, which was around Rs 4,000 crore before 2014, has now increased to nearly Rs 14,000 crore. Vande Bharat Express trains are running across Bengal. Railway stations from Bengal are included under the Amrit Bharat station scheme, which aims to modernize more than 500 stations.

Automatically, such a big infrastructure push across the East will also result in increase in investments, industry and economic activity. As the pre-eminent city of eastern India, Kolkata stands to gain significantly from the overall development of the region.

Further, when it comes to Kolkata specifically, the first focus is on urban infrastructure, cleanliness and ease of living.

Recently, I had the privilege of inaugurating the underwater metro tunnel in Kolkata which is an engineering marvel that is also boosting connectivity between two important economic hubs of Kolkata.

Further, work has recently been completed on the Kavi Subhash – Hemanta Mukhopadhyay Metro section and the Taratala – Majerhat Metro section.

Over the last ten years there have been multiple such works that have happened in Kolkata and many more such works are envisaged in the future as well.

 

Q. In the past 10 years we have seen that Kashi’s infrastructure has transformed completely. Everyone who visits says this is not the Kashi that we saw 10 years back. How did you make this happen?

A: Kashi is a timeless city. It is a city that everyone in India pines to visit at least once because it has such great spiritual and cultural significance.

At the same time, this city and its infrastructure had been taken for granted completely. Over the last many decades, very few efforts had been made to get even basic infrastructure creation or upgrades done. But we decided that this would change.

Since you mentioned the sight of Kashi 10 years ago, I am sure you all remember the massive number of power cables clumsily dangling over all the beautiful streets. We invested hundreds of crore rupees into taking all these cables underground, ensuring a more beautiful view of the city.

Everyone knows about the connectivity and infrastructure troubles Kashi faced 10 years ago. Since then, we have invested almost Rs 1,000 crore to construct or upgrade 15 bridges or flyovers. The road to Babatpur Airport, Varanasi Ring Road, Lahartara-Phulwariya-Shivpur four-lane road, I can give you many such examples of the construction or upgradation of high quality roads across the region.

Further, over 20 road widening projects worth over Rs 3,500 crore are changing the face of Varanasi and the roads that connect it with other cities.

This apart, the upgradation of the airport and railway stations, construction of world class facilities like the Rudraksh Convention Centre, etc. are also making everyone feel this is a new Kashi.

However, Kashi and its soul remains the same. The only thing that has been added is ease of living for the local people as well as tourists.

 

Q. Kashi is an eternal city associated with our glorious past. How do you envisage the place of such cities in the future of Viksit Bharat?

A: Our vision has always been that Vikas and Virasat go hand in hand. So, heritage and modernity go together.

While I spoke of all the infrastructure creation in and around Kashi, the most striking transformation has actually happened in the heritage sections of the city.

The Kashi Vishwanath Dham is there for everyone to see. We have kept in mind the spiritual soul of the temple while building the temple complex. Lakhs of pilgrims are returning happy to see the larger temple complex and its facilities. The streets around the temple are more accessible and cleaner.

The Ganga is cleaner than ever before. Maa Ganga is slowly being restored to her beauty. Sewage treatment plants are being newly built or upgraded.

Many boatmen have been helped to use environment-friendly boats. For those who would like, more cruises have been made available, including the world’s longest river cruise which starts from Varanasi.

The Ghats along the Ganga are spotless and clean. They have become world class spiritual spaces where one can sit with a clean mind, in clean surroundings and connect with the deeper spiritual vibe of Kashi.

At the same time, Varanasi is also being strengthened as a hub for tourism, culture, weavers, farmers and businesses.

So, I see a Kashi which will play an even more important role in the future of India than it did in the past!

 

Q: How do you describe your relation with Kashi?

Sometimes, when I think of Kashi, Maa Ganga and the people of Kashi, emotions overwhelm me and leave me without words.

I have said even earlier that Maa Ganga has adopted me as her son. At the same time, lakhs of families of Kashi have adopted me as their son or brother. I have always been treated like a family member. The love and affection I get is deeply moving.

It has been my firm resolve that I will repay this affection with record development. A lot has been done but a lot more is in store for the wonderful people of this ancient city.

 

Q. Five phases of elections are over. Now only 114 seats remain to go to polls while the fate of 429 seats has been decided. What is your assessment now nationally for the BJP and NDA in terms of seats and vote share and has it changed from your assessment before the elections began?

A: Our target for 400 seats came from the people and hence it remains the same. This time it seems as if it is the people who are fighting the election and supporting us in an unprecedented manner.

After the polling on five phases I can assure you that BJP has comfortably crossed the majority mark on its own and NDA is looking to return with a historic mandate. The way the opposition has collapsed in one phase after the other, the voters have made their decision quite clear.

The way the opposition is acting can be read like an exit poll. A senior leader like Sharad Pawar said that regional parties do not have any future now and should simply merge with the Congress. On the other hand, the Shehzaada of Congress knew that he would lose from Wayanad and so contested from another seat. Mamata Banerjee, who was one of the founders of INDI Alliance has deserted the alliance. She is speaking of supporting the alliance from outside.

 

Q. You have several times talked of a 100-day agenda and now a 125-day agenda. What does it look like?

A: I have divided my plan into 2 phases, 100 days for the entire nation, and the second one, which has 25 days, would be dedicated towards policies for the Yuva Shakti and how they would like the nation’s development to take shape as we move towards building a Viksit Bharat by 2047.

It is not the first time that I have set a 100-day plan as we head for an election. If you go a little back in time, you would find that post elections in 2014 and 2019, we took historic decisions within 100 days of being elected that transformed India’s growth path and, in a way, destiny. In my first term, in the first 100 days, I introduced Jan Dhan Yojana, providing bank accounts to people who never had a bank account and were kept away from formal banking. In my second term, in the first 100 days we abrogated Article 370, and Triple Talaq. In the third term, we will make historic decisions that would serve all sections of the society.

In the 25-day agenda of the youth, we will focus on the aspirations of the youth and giving wings to their ideas.

 

Q: Why do you want a big majority in these elections? Critics argue that coalitions are better.

A: The question has never been about a coalition or a single-party government. Even though we have had a simple majority for the last two terms – we have continued to lead the National Democratic Alliance.

The question is whether we have a strong government with a definitive vision to move forward and support national growth or if we have a mish-mash band of non-cooperative allies devoid of any vision or track record of development.

The difference is between the vision and the confusion – the former is a must while the latter is to be avoided at all costs.

I believe that alliances should be made with conviction and not compulsions, for cooperation and not corruption, for the nation and not for one’s own family.

As far as the big majority is concerned, it is essential for the forward and swift movement of our vision. In the last 10 years we have taken several decisions which have benefited the nation and her people greatly. Today, the entire world respects us because it knows that we have a huge mandate from the people. Whatever India says, it says with conviction and the world listens, because we have a strong majority.

The people have seen the benefits of a strong government over the last 2 terms and are determined to ensure we get a strong government for yet another term.

Following is the clipping of the interview:

Source: The Statesman