2019 Lok Sabha polls will be 'Janta versus Gathbandhan': PM Modi

PM Modi spoke on a wide range of issues and shared his vision for the country, while reiterating his government's commitment to ''Sabka Saath, Sabha Vikas.''   

2019 Lok Sabha polls will be 'Janta versus Gathbandhan': PM Modi
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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday refuted allegations levelleed by his political opponents on his government as he spoke on a wide range of issues including Ram Temple issue, Triple Talaq bill, Surgical Strikes, his government's actions against graft accused members of the Gandhi family and the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

In a no-holds-barred interview with news agency ANI, the PM also shared his vision for the country, while reiterating his government's commitment to ''Sabka Saath, Sabha Vikas.'' Later, while the ruling BJP said that PM's explanation on various issues was comprehensive, detailed and candid, the Congress party termed it as "bereft of ground reality, full of 'jumlas' (rhetoric) and scripted.''

Ram Temple 

PM Modi made it clear that any decision on bringing an Ordinance on Ram temple can be considered only after the judicial process gets over.

The PM suggested that the judicial process was being slowed down because Congress lawyers were creating "obstacles" in the Supreme Court.

"We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the ambit of the Constitution," the Prime Minister said about the Ram temple matter when asked whether the Ram Mandir issue had been relegated as merely an emotive issue for the BJP.

Asked whether the government could consider issuing an Ordinance on Ram temple, the Prime Minister pointed out that the matter is before the Supreme Court and possibly in the final stages.

"Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever will be our responsibility as the government, we are ready to make all efforts," he added. READ FULL STORY

Gandhi Family

''It is a fact that those considered first family, who ran the country for four generations, are out on bail, that too for financial irregularities. It is a big thing. A set of people, who are at their service, are trying to suppress such information and push other narratives,'' PM Modi said.

On Ties With Pakistan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will make all efforts to keep the pressure on Pakistan, but it will be a huge mistake to believe that the country will mend its ways anytime soon. READ FULL STORY

India, whether UPA or NDA government, never opposed dialogue (with Pakistan). It is the consistent policy of the country, not Modi government or Manmohan Singh government. We only say one thing that amid the noise of bombs and guns, the dialogue cannot be heard, the PM said.

Dolkam Standoff

Replying to a question on the Doklam standoff despite several meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, PM Modi said, ''India should be judged on the basis of its response in Doklam. And nothing has happened with India that can be considered as deceit, but our principled position has been that we want friendly relations with neighbours.''

Triple Talaq

PM Narendra Modi said that while Triple Talaq is a matter of gender equality, entry of women in Sabarimala is related to tradition. PM Modi also tried to clear the air on BJP`s apparent contradiction in its stand on the controversial Triple Talaq Ordinance and the ban on entry of women between the age group of (10-50 years) in the Sabarimala Temple by saying the Ordinance against Triple Talaq was brought keeping in mind gender equality and social justice and it should not be seen as interference in religious issues.

However, on the entry of women of menstrual age in the Sabarimala Temple and protests by Hindu groups, Prime Minister Modi said that the issue relates to tradition and the Supreme Court judgement that saw a dissent by a lady judge should be read carefully. READ FULL STORY

2019 Lok Sabha Polls

When asked if the upcoming 2019 elections would be anybody vs Modi, the PM said, ''It is going to be a 'Janta' versus 'gathbandhan'. Modi is just a manifestation of public love and blessings.''

The Prime Minister was responding to a question about whether people had now considered the `Mahagathbandhan` as an alternative to PM Modi.

He expressed confidence that the people will again repose faith in the BJP considering the work done by his government over the last four and a half years. READ FULL STORY

Rafale Deal

PM Narendra Modi said that the Congress is trying to throw muck on him even though the party has nothing to prove him wrong. PM Modi said that those levelling allegations on him are actually weakening the Indian security forces.

He added that in spite of allegations from the Congress in the Rafale deal, he will continue to expedite the procurement process in defence so that country`s security is not compromised.

"Those people who want to weaken the Army are levelling allegations. Should I worry that they are making personal attacks on me, or whether my country`s needs should be met? I decided that whatever abuses are hurled at me, whatever allegations are levelled against me, I will continue on the path of honesty and give primacy to the country`s security. I won`t leave my Army jawans merely to their fate. Whatever be their requirement, I will expedite the procurement processes. I will do it even if allegations are levelled me," PM Modi said in response to allegations of corruption in the Rafale jet purchase deal. READ FULL STORY

Surgical Strikes

PM Modi, while revealing details of the Surgical Strikes for the first time, said that the date of the attack was changed twice, keeping in mind the safety and security of the troops. The strikes were carried out days after terrorists attacked an Army camp in Uri in Kashmir, killing 20 soldiers.

The Prime Minister said the surgical strikes were planned as there was a "rage" building up within him as well as the Army after soldiers were burnt alive in the terror attack in Uri.

"I gave clear orders that whether you get success or failure, don`t think about that but come back before sunrise. Don`t fall for the lure and prolong it (the operation)," he said, turning a bit emotional while discussing that operation.

Emphasising that he was determined to see that none of the soldiers died in the operation, he said he had told them that they must return before sunrise even if they fail.

"Come back before sunrise, irrespective of the success or failure of the mission", this was my message to the Indian Army Special Forces` commandos who went across the Line of Control (LoC) on September 28, 2016, to carry out surgical strikes at terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir,'' the PM said. READ FULL STORY

Demonetisation 

PM Modi said that the decision to ban old currency notes of high denomination - Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes - was not a 'Jhatka' (shock or sudden blow), adding that he had warned people a year earlier.

“ This (Demonetisation) wasn’t a jhatka. We had warned people a year before, that if you have such wealth (black money), you can deposit it, pay penalties and you will be helped out. However, they thought Modi too would behave like others so very few came forward voluntarily,” PM Modi told ANI.

PM Modi on November 8, 2016 had announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The Reserve Bank of India in its annual report later had said that 99.3 per cent of the total banned notes had returned to the banking system. READ FULL STORY

Ex-RBI Governor Urjit Patel 

PM Modi said that there was no government or political pressure on former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel to resign from the Central Bank. PM Modi said that Patel had personally written to him several months ago about wanting to resign, citing personal reasons. 

“He himself requested (to resign) on personal reasons. I am revealing for the first time, he was telling me about it for past 6-7 months before his resignation. He gave it even in writing. No question of political pressure.” the PM said.

Patel resigned in December from his post citing "personal reasons" amidst reports of a rift between the RBI and the government. 

Prime Minister Modi, after Patel`s resignation, tweeted that the RBI Governor left behind a "great legacy."The Prime Minister further dispelled the opposition`s criticism that Patel was made to leave."No such question arises. I acknowledge that Patel did a good job as RBI Governor," Prime Minister Modi added. READ FULL STORY

Judiciary & CBI

Stressing that institutions like CBI and judiciary are paramount to his government, the Prime Minister stressed that the opposition Congress party has no right to criticise the BJP by saying that the government weakened such institutions in the country.

"Congress has no right to speak on this issue. Against the PM and PMO, the NAC (National Advisory Council) was formed. What kind of empowerment of the PMO was this? Cabinet takes such a big decision and a big leader tears that Cabinet decision at a press conference. What kind of respect is for an institution?", PM Modi questioned.

"Coming to the judiciary, they openly said that we will decide judiciary on the basis of ideology and senior judges were shown the door and junior judges were promoted. And you are talking about institutions? In the same RBI, several times Governors were forced to leave before their term expired. You called Planning Commission people a bunch of jokers," the Prime Minister added.

Tax Benefits For Middle Class

 For the middle class, we'll have to change our thinking. Middle class never lives on someone’s mercy. They live with dignity and make an immense contribution towards running the country,'' the PM said.

Farmers' Suicide And Loan Waiver 

Dubbing the loan waivers announced by the Congress governments as "political stunts", PM Modi asserted that a majority of farmers do not benefit from these "misleading" announcements as only a few of them take loans from banks. He said the solution to the farmers ' problems is to empower them and his government is committed to this. 

"These are political stunts," PM Modi asserted. He recently described the loan waivers announced by the Congress party as just lollipops.'' 

Asked why he described the announcements as "lollipops", the Prime Minister said: "To say a lie and mislead, that is what I called lollipop. Like saying that we have waived all farm loans. The truth is that nothing like that has happened... They should not mislead... And particularly a responsible political party should never do it." 

Explaining further, he said there is a very small segment of farmers who take loans from banks while a majority of them take loans from money lenders. 

Electoral Defeats in Three Key States

Referring to a question on his party's poll prospects after its electoral defeat in three key states, PM Modi said he is confident that the BJP will do well in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

"No reason for morale down. We are confident and are moving ahead. In 2019, if there is one party which the country trusts and is connected with the people, it is the BJP," PM Modi said.

BJP lost power in three key states in December, handing Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the Congress party opposition and its allies ahead of national polls due by May.

Modi said it was more important to focus on his government`s achievements, including the introduction in September of a new healthcare scheme for the poor.

''2018 was a successful year. Elections are just one facet of a number of facets. If poor are given insurance of upto Rs 5Lakh, Ayushman Bharat Yojna. In such big numbers people were suffering, today they have got treatment, how can I consider this a failure?" PM Modi said. 

He said the party has been discussing what it lacked at the state elections but winning or losing was not the only yardstick. 

"Our effort is to take everyone along and listen to everyone. I am committed to giving importance to regional aspirations. The country cannot be run by ignoring regional aspirations," the PM said.  

GST  

Replying to a question on Congress president Rahul Gandhi calling GST 'Gabbar Singh Tax', the PM said, ''The way someone thinks is the way someone talks. Have the GST processes not been done after taking a consensus with all political parties in the country? Since Pranab Mukherjee was FM, the GST process has been going on. We just implemented it.''

Bank Loan Defaulters, Blackmoney Hoarders

PM expressed confidence that the bank loan defaulters will not be spared and will be eventually brought back to India. PM Modi said, “Those who fled during this government, they will be brought back, today or tomorrow. Diplomatic channels, legal courses, and seizure of properties being done. Those who have stolen India’s money, they will have to compensate for each and every penny.''

PM Modi's comment was an apparent reference to the cases involving Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, and Mehul Choksi. Last year, in a major achievement, the ruling government was successful in bringing back Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal. READ FULL STORY