PM MODI INTERVIEW | 'Deserve credit for terror hardline'
In an exclusive interview with TNIE, Prime Minister lists robust action against terrorism emanating from Pakistan as one of his government’s achievements.
Published: 16th April 2019 08:16 AM | Last Updated: 16th April 2019 09:19 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw nothing wrong in the NDA government taking credit for the manner in which Pakistan was given a befitting answer for “exporting” terror, but refuted the charge that his party was using the armed forces for political benefits.
In a wide-ranging interview with this publication at his residence after a day-long poll campaign, the Prime Minister questioned if his critics would have kept quiet had there been no response from the government after the Pulwama attack.
“If Wing Commander Abhinandan hadn’t come back, would the Opposition have kept mum? Shouldn’t the country be proud of the bravery displayed by the armed forces against sources of terrorism in Pakistan? Ghar mein ghus kar maara hai aur hisab chukta kiya hai (We went into their home and settled scores). The Congress, too, can take credit for the achievements of the armed forces, who is stopping them?” the PM said.
Responding to a range of questions on electioneering relating to the post-Pulwama developments, Modi disagreed with the view that the defence forces were being “used” in poll meetings.
“If a dam is constructed, will the ruling party not list it as an achievement? In the same way, if Pakistan has been given an effective answer for exporting terror, the ruling party will mention it as an achievement. I am pained at the double standards,” he said.
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Buttressing his argument, the Prime Minister pointed out that elections happened in the country even around the time of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
“If some people had criticised the government then, the neutral ones would have said India should speak in one voice since it’s war. Now, there is a different stance. Why is there a shift? Is it because India registered a victory?” he asked.
Forcefully countering the charge that unemployment was at a record high, Modi alleged the “same group of people who spread this false narrative against (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee’s government are trying to spread a fake narrative around jobs today.”
The PM also did not agree with the view that having come to power in 2014 on the development plank, the BJP this time had made nationalism its main poll theme.
According to him, while the government had a string of achievements to boast about, it was also a fact that there was anger among the people against terrorism and the manner in which it had cost the country thousands of lives and billions of rupees in security measures.
For the first time they have a sense of assurance that the government was willing to act against terror and pay back those perpetrating it in the same coin, he said.
Modi, who addresses three rallies on an average every day, said he was overwhelmed by the huge crowds thronging his meetings and their response to the issues raised by him.
He claimed that a pro-incumbency wave was blowing across the country and was confident that the BJP would perform much better in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where it lost power in the recent Assembly elections, as the Congress governments had failed to deliver any of their promises.
Asked if the 2019 elections could be described as the BJP vs the Congress and the rest, or Modi vs the Congress and the rest, the PM preferred to frame his response differently. He said the reason why the people wanted him back was because his government had scores of achievements to talk about.
“But, they (Opposition) have nothing to talk except harping on Modi hatao. The people of this country and their aspirations are at the centre of the elections. There is the NDA, the Congress and various other alliances in the fray.”
According to him, South India was set to give a huge surprise to political pundits as the BJP had succeeded in countering the misinformation that the party represented only a particular region of the country.
Explaining the reason behind the party fielding all its ministers, including a few from the Rajya Sabha, Modi said for the past five years they had been “working as Team India, now we together are going to the people.”