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India: I will win again - Modi

It was a terrible situation when I joined. But my tenure as a CM helped me to remain confident and I knew that we would find ways

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll trail across the country assures him that the wave in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party is bigger this time around.

In an exclusive interview to Hindustan, the sister publication of Hindustan Times, Modi said: “The BJP will get more numbers than earlier and it is going to be a full majority government.”

Modi spoke on a range of topics, from the NDA’s rule to Opposition strategy to hard-state issues like terror and national security.

With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, PM Modi said the last five years had been “satisfactory” and “extremely good”. He said these years boosted his belief that there was no reason why India should not remain in the category of fast developing countries.

“It was a terrible situation when I joined. But my tenure as a CM helped me to remain confident and I knew that we would find ways,” he said.

Speaking about the promises fulfilled that were made during 2014 campaign, he said if everything was completed, the world would come to a halt.

He is also happy with the outcome of Demonetisation. “The policy might not suit political arithmetic but had to be done in national interest. It resulted in the recovery of Rs 1,30,000 crore, which has been taxed. Properties worth Rs 50,00 were seized. Nearly 3,38,000 shell companies have been identified and deregistered. It’s due to demonetisation that tax compliance has almost doubled,” he added, pointing out the positive outcomes of that controversial decision. He said the Opposition would not be able to make capital out of demonetisation these elections, just as it had failed in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh state elections.

On employment:

Employment generation and its data came in the limelight this year. Responding to what the government is doing to generate more jobs, PM Modi said, “For many years, we have been doing a sample survey and on its basis, a minimum assumption is made. For example, let’s take roads — earlier roads were constructed, but in the last five years, construction of roads has doubled.

Similarly, the work in railways has doubled, electrification of rail routes has gone up three times. Has all this been possible without employment?”

On Pulwama terror attack:

Modi said the attack has proved India’s stand that Pakistan was in the business of exporting terror to India and now the world was with the country in its fight against terror.

He said there was a time when only Russia was standing with India, while the rest of the world was backing Pakistan. But after five years, only China is with Pakistan and rest of the world with India.

Responding to a question on whether there was a possibility of a dialogue with Pakistan, Modi said, “When I was not even the Prime Minister, I had not taken the oath then, I had called the Prime Minister of Pakistan to attend the oath ceremony, only for the sake of our country... I had given the message that ‘yes, we will go to a decisive stage’. After that I went to Lahore.” He asserted he was the one who went ahead on the path of friendship but is also fully prepared to tackle any hostility.

On the failure of the BJP-PDP alliance:

Modi said the BJP’s decision to form government in Jammu and Kashmir with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was the party’s “mahamilawat”. Speaking about the BJP-PDP alliance, he said when the 2014 general election results were announced, no one had absolute majority and BJP thought the National Conference (NC) and PDP would join hands.

The PDP had won 28 seats; BJP won 25 and the NC had 15, with Congress coming last with 12 seats in the 87-member state Assembly.

“At that time Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was there. People of the state spoke to him. We openly said that ‘we are two poles’. In a way it was our ‘mahamilawat’. Because we had to form a government under democratic compulsions, we started working under the minimum common program. Mufti Saheb was experienced ... so there were no problems,” he told Hindustan.

Soon after Sayeed’s death, differences began cropping up between BJP and the PDP and after three months, Mehbooba Mufti was sworn in as the Chief Minister.

PM Modi said Mehbooba had party compulsions and wasn’t ready to take responsibility. After the government was formed, BJP wanted to conduct local elections, but Mehbooba Mufti wasn’t ready and said there would be bloodshed.

The BJP left the alliance “when Mehbooba did not conduct the elections”, he said.

“We focused on development. We have already said that whatever ‘mahamilawat’ is visible today was our ‘mahamilawat’ and whatever political damage it could do, it did,” he asserted.

On June 19, 2018, Mehbooba Mufti resigned as the CM of Jammu and Kashmir after BJP pulled out of the alliance with PDP and state reverted to Governor’s rule.

On the mud flying these elections:

On politicians using increasingly abusive language, Modi said: “I don’t believe this has happened overnight. Look at the language of the people who give lessons on the use of graceful language. Look at the kind of reports media files when Parliament is in session. They call the house a battlefield. What will you say to comments of Sonia Gandhi who called (former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajypayee a traitor and Modi a maut ka saudagar (merchant of death).”

He said this kind of language has become fashionable and is used to give lessons on the use of courteous language.

On Congress manifesto:

Modi said since Nehru’s time, Congress has claimed poverty eradication was their goal.

“The poverty agenda was used by Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi. This slogan has been used for five generations,” Modi told Hindustan.

Modi compared the party with the main protagonist in the movie, Ghajini, who had short-time amnesia. “They do not remember the promises they made in previous elections.”

On artistes boycotting BJP:

Commenting on a section of intellectuals who have decided not to vote for BJP, Modi said he did not know who those people were, but there was definitely a section which got the best of everything under previous governments.

On Kashmir security:

The Centre has taken effective measures against Maoists in the north-east but questions rise why it could not be effective in Kashmir. Responding to the, Modi clarified that it was a 40-year-old problem and there have been interruptions. “But there are a few districts in Jammu, Ladakh and Srinagar where the condition is not good,” he said.

On Rafale:

Modi said there was nothing controversial about the Rafale deal.

“If the media of this country is unbiased, then it is its responsibility to question the Congress on the issue of national security. The leader of the 125-year-old Congress speaks without any proof or basis. The Supreme Court has said it and so have the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General), the French Parliament, the French President, the company, and the Indian government and the Indian Parliament. But he (Rahul Gandhi) is levelling allegations and smirking,” Modi added.

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