Q. You are contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the second time. Are you confident of winning this election? And if you are confident what are the reasons.
Modi : Considering the phenomenal work done by us in last five years, compared to last Lok Sabha elections, we are far more confident this time. In last five years we have been able to reach to the last man on the social ladder. Through our schemes like Mudra loan, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, providing health cover to upto five lakhs through Ayushman Bharat Yojana created an atmosphere among people that this government is empowering us. I feel there should be balanced development in our country. If only western India is developing, that is not balanced development. Western India from Kerala to Punjab is developing, similarly, eastern India which is rich in natural and human resources, should be equally developed. I paid attention to the development of eastern India. I feel in recent future, western and eastern India will match up with each other. Now North Eastern part of our country is liked with us. People have realised that we have paid special attention improving transportation facilities. Now, households in Bihar are getting cooking gas through pipeline. This has raised hopes among the people.
Q. Congress and BJP both have published their manifestos. Which are the three things that are on top priority list that you plan to accomplish in next five years?
Modi: I urge you to consider both manifestos and you will realise the difference. One manifesto is responsibly presented by the party (BJP) that runs the government. While other is by a party (Congress) to merely stay in the election fray. Congress has made several comprises in the issues of national interest including Kashmir issue, sedition charges, on the contrary BJP has taken a strong stand. We have mooted amendments in Citizenship Act. Several Sikkh, Christians, Buddha, Hindu, Jain they were driven away from Pakistan and Bangladesh, I am of the firm opinion that we need to accept them. Congress cannot end section 35 (A). In last five years from 2014-2019 I have full-filled needs of common man which was not done in last 70 years of Independence. There were several lacunae and the gaps needed to be filled. I have a clear cut vision for the next five years. After fulfilling the primary needs, now we will work to fulfil their dreams. We identified 150 districts which are lagging behind in development. These districts even did not have a district hospital. We need to bring these districts at par with other districts. If this happens, then there would be transformation in the country. You have asked me three priorities, the first priority is empowering the poor and then creating more employment opportunities and thirdly, ensuring development of women.
Q: How NDA will perform in Maharashtra? How will you rate Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ performance in the state. There are rumours that if NDA returns to power again in the Centre, Maharashtra CM will be taken in the cabinet in New Delhi?
Modi: Maharashtra is playing a significant role in strengthening the nation’s economy. We need to strengthen the state as much as possible as it is an important for our country. We cannot afford to have instability in such a state. The residents of the state currently are not experiencing the bitter past that they had experienced during the alliance regime. In all BJP ruled states government’s performance was good. New opportunities are being created. Devendra Fadnavis’s government is among them. The development in Maharashtra was impressive. Maharashtra needs stability and there is no need to create instability.
Q: In last few days, BJP has brought in many leaders from other parties, on one side you criticise dynastic politics and while on the other side you are seen bringing in leaders from Congress who have dynastic lineage. How do you look at this?
Modi: We need to understand the meaning of dynastic politics. I do not believe that if an MP’s son becomes MLA, it falls under the category of dynastic politics. Preferably it should not happen but if it happens, we can not label it dynastic politics. If in some party after the father, son, nephew or cousin takes the reigns of the party and becomes the leader and runs the entire party as if is a private limited company, then we can call it dynastic politics. It is happening in many parts of the country. In Haryana from INLD two brothers had a ugly dispute and the party was split into two. Ultimately the party workers who were chanting slogans of ‘Jindabad’ had to suffer. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had told in 1937 that the biggest enemy of politics is dynastic politics. If one family has five MLAs then I shall not call it dynasty politics but I will call it dynasty politics when it is run like a party private limited company.
Q. Those who change the party come with their original ideology, do you think that those who have crossed over from Congress to the BJP will sincerely imbibe the BJP’s ideology?
Modi: Our experience says so. Many leaders from different parties as well several professional have joined our party and they have accepted our ideology and culture. There may be some exceptions.
Q. Recently you have become aggressive against Nationalist Congress Party and Sharad Pawar, what are the reasons?
Modi: I am not personally against Sharad Pawar. I feel that he is very clever political observer that is why when he supports Congress President for the post Prime Minister, raises a few questions. The party has the word Nationalist in its name. I wonder how a Nationalist person can support the demand of having two Prime Ministers in one country. How can a Nationalist support making the ASPA weak thereby demoralising the Army? But if some Kashmiri leaders say that they should be two PM in the country and both will be your friends, then I ask the question Sharadrao you too! Then, I have to speak against him.
Q: India launched air strike in Balakot in Pakistan but recently Pakistan took International Media to the site and showed that there was no destruction happened. What do you think of it?
Modi: During surgical strikes in the areas falling under 250 kms had several battalions. Few of them were at a distance of five kilometers while a few were at a distance of two kilometers. Yet they had a perfect sync. Later, the Pakistan media showed through the national television that nothing has happened, they could show this as there were many empty pockets falling under this vast area as it was easy for them. They did not allow anyone to visit the actual area where the strikes happened for 43 days. Journalists too were not allowed. But the interviews with the villagers were testimony to it. Pakistan then declared that the strike did take place. We had decided to declare about the strikes in the morning, but Pakistan declared it during the dawn saying someone came into our territory and strike us. Now in these 43 days, either they have cleaned the area, constructed new things or would have taken the media to altogether new place as it was the only building among the hills. They are showing that no surgical strike took place on an area spread over 250 kms eying the elections in India. Pakistan is trying to play with India during the election time and that is why they are making such statements.
Q: It was said that nearly 600 to 700 people were there at Balakot. Is that the reason your people made guess that 300 died in the strike?
Modi: You must have seen that an American journalist had published a video showing Pakistan Army officers consoling the citizens. They were seen saying that one who was killed must have gone to heaven and it’s a jihad. They were seen crying and hugging their children. This is enough to guess how many may have been killed in the strike.
Q: How do you react to Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s recent statement that if you become PM again, Indo-Pak relations will improve?
Modi: When Imran Khan was contesting elections in Pakistan, he used my name to his benefit. You must understand how he targeted Nawaz Sharif. Do you remember what was his slogan then- Modi’s friend is nation’s traitor. ‘Modi ka jo yaar hain, woh gaddar hain, gaddar hain’. Imran is originally a cricketer. He knows how to play a googly. This is googly played by Imran to create disturbance in Indian elections, nothing more than that.