I am happy that they accept there is a word called Modi wave
“In the world, Islamic countries, most of them have banned Triple Talaq. So it is not a matter of religion or faith. Even in Pakistan, Triple Talaq is banned. So it is an issue of gender equality, matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith. So keep the two separate. India is of one opinion that everyone should get their due rights. There are some temples, which have their own traditions, where men can’t go. And men don’t go… In this, Sabrimala, a woman judge in the Supreme Court has made certain observations. It needs to be read minutely. There is no need to attribute those to any political party. As a woman too, she has made some suggestions. There should be a debate on that as well sometimes, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an exclusive interview with news agency ANI: Excerpts
2018 was not good year for BJP. In 5 elections, BJP saw defeat. Are you confident of winning in 2019? How many seats are expected?
Prime Minister: In my opinion 2018 was a successful year. Elections are just one facet of a number of facets in this country. If in this country poor are given insurance of up to Rs. 5 Lakh, through Ayushman Bharat Yojna. Within 100 of its implementation, 6-7 lakh have benefited. In such big numbers people were suffering and today they have got treatment. How can I consider this a failure. It is my biggest achievement.
The world today talks about climate change and India was considered as one of the countries that caused pollution. In 2018, the UN awarded the champion of earth, a protector of environment, to a leader. It is a source of pride.
18,000 villages did not have electricity, in this year every village was electrified.
In sports, Indian children did a tremendous job. A lot of medals were won. Children from Tier 2, 3 cities, villages and from financial weak background are bringing laurels to the country. Our Para athletes are doing a great job.
104 satellites have been put in orbit is a record of sorts. There has been bumper crop in 2018.
Any sector can be taken as an example, India is breaking previous records. 2018 has been a shining year for India.
I am talking about electoral loses. BJP lost in 5 states. You are the Prime Minister of the party in power. Don’t you consider this a loss?
In Telangana and Mizoram, nobody gave BJP any chance or even thought that we would form government. In Chhattisgarh, a clear mandate was given, BJP lost. But in 2 states there was a hung assembly.
Secondly, 15 years of anti-incumbency was being fought by our people. We are discussing what was lacking.
However, in Haryana local polls we won all, Tripura there was 90-95% victory, J-K 74 % polling took place and in many of those the BJP won. Winning or losing is not the only yardstick.
However, your vote share not converted into seats. Is the Modi wave over?
At the outset I wish to thank the people who say this. When they say this (Modi wave/Modi magic) …That means people are admitting Modi wave. Check media reports of 2013-14, newspaper and TV debates. A set of persons are there who kept saying that ‘There is no Modi wave, Modi can’t do anything’…Those same set of persons, may be some have increased or decreased in number, have a responsibility to keep setting a narrative. I am happy that they accept, there is a word called Modi wave or Modi magic.
For me, there is wave only about people’s expectations and aspirations, wave only about trust that who will fulfil our aspirations and expectations. And today trust has increased. Aspirations of youth have increased,.. It itself exhibits a new energy.
Opposition believes that if the Modi magic has waned the BJP will not get more 180 seats, a sort of ‘Club 180’. They are depending on a non-Modi factor. Can this happen? Do you think the BJP can go below 180 in 2019.
If they do not do this sort of math and spread such things how will people join their Gathbandhan. They will have to talk big to attract people to themselves.
To save themselves such narratives are set … Is there any scientific study to this? 2013-14, same set of persons used to talk the Under-200 seats club. You know very well who I am talking about. That narrative continues.
As far as BJP is concerned, we should not mistrust the intelligence of the common man. I keep telling all political pundits let us trust the common man’s intelligence.
After all what did the common people experience from this government such that they will go away from us in 2019 ? Go back to the newspapers 5 years ago, see that headline, see the headlines now. The common man knows it all. I have faith in the common man and the youth of this country.
If we go by your narrative, you have been talking about a Congress-mukt Bharat since 2013. But the recent elections proved that the common man considers the Congress an option to you…This is why in the Hindi heartland, considered your foundation, Congress governments have been formed. Your goal of a Congress-mukt Bharat is not coming to fruition.
Even Congress people say Congress is a thought, a culture. That culture has been in mainstream for such a long period. Because of this, it has become an integral part of Indian political culture. What is that culture – Casteism, Dynastic politics, undemocratic, nepotism. Congress represents this culture.
When I say Congress-mukt, I want to rid the country from this culture and this sort of thinking. And I have even gone to say that Congress too needs to be mukt of this Congress culture.
Whether institute remains or not, I accept that in a democracy, a strong Opposition is essential but unfortunately the Congress has failed even in that.
Till 2017 it was said, Modi-Amit Shah combination cannot be beaten. Now it seems that this leadership needs to take responsibility. You are losing elections. If your narrative is so successful why are you losing elections, shouldn’t the leadership take responsibility for these losses?
Those who say that BJP is running because of Modi and Amit Shah, they do not understand BJP. BJP is the largest party of the world. BJP functions because of our strength from the polling booth onwards ‘Mera booth, sabse mazboot.’ Our worker is on this for 365 days…. The thinking that one or two people run BJP, they don’t understand the organisations. At every level there is leadership by the workers, it has a cumulative effect, BJP moves forward with sabka sath, sabka vikas and winning over people.
By constantly repeating that the BJP is losing doesn’t mean that we are actually losing. BJP won Assam, Haryana, Tripura.
So the morale is not down?
There is no question of our morale going down. BJP has been on a winning spree. 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.
Some of the reasons for these losses are demonetisation, poor implementation of GST. Looking back was there a need for demonetization? Were any objectives met?
There used to be regular reports about black money. There is no disputing the fact that a parallel economy was running. Notes were found under beds, sacks full of cash were found. This parallel economy had made the country hollow. Demonetization has done a big job and in the coming days will set the country on the solid economic path. Those sacks full of cash have now entered the banking structure.
An atmosphere of honesty has been created. The tax net has increased since earlier. Won’t you call this a success? Currency circulation in comparison to GDP has reduced. This is a good indicator. If it continued like it did unabated, it would have been difficult to run things in the country.
Was there any need for this ‘Jhatka’?
This wasn’t a Jhatka. We had warned people a year in advance that we have a scheme wherein if you have such wealth (black money), you can deposit it, pay the penalties and you will be helped out. However, they thought that Modi too would behave like other governments so very few people came forward voluntarily.
Through the media and Parliament I beseeched people to take advantage of this scheme or else we (GoI) would have to take steps to change the situation. This hasn’t happened overnight. This process took one year…Only after that we had to take this step. This was necessary for the economic health of this country.
If any process is changed, take for examples Railways, if a bogey changes tracks there is a change in speed. We can’t deny this. Even when Manmohan Singh was Finance Minister, do you have any idea how much the GDP fell? It had fallen to approximately less than 2%. With change this happens but later things got stabilised. Now, even our growth rate has stabilized, a cleansing process was needed, we did it. Now an ideology has been created for the country to head towards.
Economic offenders will be brought back? They are still away. Nirav Modi, Choksi, Mallya are still enjoying outside the country. Objectives of ending parallel economy and bringing back economic offenders have not been met.
Why did they need to flee after all. Had there been governments like earlier, same dostana would have continued, lootna hai, looto; khana hai, khate chalo, .. They would have no need to flee. They had to flee because they would have to adhere to the laws here. They had to return every penny.
Those who have fled, there are international laws to bring them back. Those are being implemented. For such fugitives, we have made stringent laws. Seizure of property is happening even in foreign countries. Therefore, we are using all tools available with the government.
I am confident, that those who have fled the country earlier, they have not returned. But those who fled during this government, they will be brought back, today or tomorrow. Diplomatic channels, legal courses and seizure of properties through legal means are being implemented. Those who have stolen India’s money, they will have to compensate for each and every penny.
For the first time, in the first G20 that I attended as PM, the issue of black money and banking havens was raised by me. It was recognised as a serious cause of concern, and also considered a source of terror funding. Countries were in agreement to share information of such bank accounts.
We have entered into agreements with various countries. After 2019, we will get real time information from different countries. So black money will be brought back.
Looking at your speeches from 2013 onwards…2G, 3G, CWG, Damaad ji you keep giving speeches but they still walk around Lodhi Garden. No one is in jail?
Zamanat pe bhi toh hain. Those who are on bail, can do it…. but 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….
The country’s former Finance Minister is making rounds of courts. It is not a small thing. I am not in favour of such a thing that anybody should face problems just because you are our political rival. We are not in favour of that (political vendetta.) Whatever judgement court gives, we will accept but there should not be delay.
People voted for you because they thought you won’t bring any delay in this…It has been five years but no action has been taken?
The country has belief that so much has happened in 5 years that is why they have so much faith in Modi.
GST – Rahul Gandhi has called this Gabbar Singh Tax, Grand Stupid Thought. Do you think there were problems in tax implementation that’s why it needed to be rolled back in some way?
Jiski jaisi soch, waise uske shabd (The way someone thinks is the way someone talks). Have GST processes not been done taking a consensus with all political parties in the country? Since Pranab Mukherjee was Finance Minister, the GST process has been going on. In Parliament, unanimously it was passed. Before GST, what was tax rate in the country? 30-40 % tax. And hidden tax. Repeated tax. GST has simplified all this. 500 items have zero tax, which at one time incurred high taxes. Last few days, tax rates on 1200-1250 items of daily use have been brought down, some to 18%, to 12 to 5 % and in some cases to zero. We keep doing because we take feedback. There is Samvad. Decisions are taken in GST Council that has all governments, UTs and Centre. All have equal positions. Puducherry and GoI are both equal. Congress governments also. In Parliament, unanimously it was passed. Are they abusing own party leaders and party governments?
Just creating a political hue and cry is not good. GST is a new system… such a big transformation, technology driven. Some small traders have faced inconvenience, we acknowledge this. But government’s responsibility is to be sensitive to their concerns. So, whatever comes to our notice, are referred to the GST Council. We decided collectively how to simplify.
We wanted to take a decision that those traders who are in the Rs. 20 Lakh range and incur a tax liability, that should be increased to 75 lakh and give them some relief. We couldn’t do this in the GST council meet, states have some reservations so it has gone to committee. Once committee reaches a decision it will benefit a number of people.
Similarly, under construction houses and finished houses, GST, like we did for restaurants, everything under 5 per cent. We wanted to do that. But there were reservations by some. So GST council could not do it. It has now gone to the committee. We will try to ensure that the committee report is expedited.
So, continuously, we have been trying to make GST easy and benefits of consumers are secured. In such short time, in such a big nation, whatever achievement is not small. Despite such diversities in such a big country, there is scope for improvement. We will continue to make changes.
Some say that Modi has done nothing for farmers. Rahul Gandhi’s promise of loan waiver was called a ‘lollypop’ by you…If a farmer defaults on a loan, and then on the flip side there are economic offenders having a great damn, the farmers will think that Rahul Gandhi is with them. Your take on this?
To say a lie and misleading, that is what I called lollipop, like saying that we have waived all farm loans. The truth is nothing like that has happened. Please see their own circulars. They should not mislead. The Government of India made laws to ensure that those who looted banks pay back. Rs. 3 lakh crore returned.
They should not compare the two things, mislead people and lie. And particularly a responsible political party should never do it.
If loan waiver helps, it should be definitely done. But has it been done by earlier governments. Since Devi Lal’s time, loan waiver was done. 2009 elections win also.
What is lacking in our system, that farmer becomes debt-ridden and the governments have to repeat vicious cycle of elections and loan waivers.
So solution is to empower the farmers. From seed to market, give all facilities to the farmers. A 100 schemes in cold storage for the farmer we have started again. Why does farmer have debt? We should make a situation that he should not need loan. If Swaminathan Commission report had been implemented in 2007, there would have been no need for loans. Instead of doing that they found avenues to win elections.
There is a very small segment of farmers who take loans from banks. A majority of them take loans from money lenders. When governments make such announcements, those farmers do not become beneficiaries of the waivers. The farmers who are dying are out of the purview of such schemes. So these are political stunts.
Still if state governments are doing it, we are not stopping them. We have not stopped any state government. We are committed to address farmers’ problems. And empower farmers.
Ayodhya/Ram Mandir:Is Ordinance a problem like you did in Triple Talaq? Why has Ram Mandir just been relegated to an emotive issue for BJP?
Triple Talaq Ordinance was brought after SC verdict, in the light of SC verdict. We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the Constitution.
Nobody can deny it that those sitting in the governments in the last 70 years have tried their best to stall a solution to this issue. Even today, the matter is before the Supreme Court. In a way, it has reached its final stage.
I beseech the Congress, for national peace and amity, that they should stop its lawyers from stalling this in the court, not create obstacles, and all lawyers, those Congress ones, should together head to the court and ensure that there is early judicial verdict .
In court, Congress lawyers, who are creating obstacles, should stop. Let the judicial process take its own course. Don’t weigh it in political terms. Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever be our responsibility as government, we are ready to make all efforts.
Lynchings in the name of cows. Congress, eminent personalities even a person like Naseeruddin Shah, now say that Muslims are not safe in India…even Imran Khan said he will teach PM Modi how minorities should be treated. Why does the BJP not show empathy to minorities?
No such incident reflects well on a civilised society. No voices ever should support such incidents. This is totally wrong and totally condemnable. Did it start after 2014? This is a result of ills within the society. For improving this situation, we should all work collectively. I am not in favour of pursuing a debate that this happened in this government and that happened in that government. Even one incident is condemnable.
What Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave used to say, the sentiments reflected in the Constitution. It is the responsibility of every citizen to respect those sentiments. If you honour those sentiments, our sentiments are also respected.To create this environment, everybody should contribute.
A Muslim scholar based in the Gulf, wrote about India’s harmony in diversity whereas in their region people of the same faith attacked each other. India should take pride in this compliment.
Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. 18,000 villages didn’t have electricity. We didn’t do this by asking which villages are of which community.
India should take pride that we have been living in harmony for ages.There should be no such incident in the society. But we should understand what the main fabric of the society is.
Triple Talaq Ordinance was considered a progressive move by you but at the same time in the Sabarimala issue your party gets stuck in the garb of customs and traditions. Why this contradiction?
These are two separate things. You are not seeing this properly.
In the world, Islamic countries, most of them have banned Triple Talaq. So it is not a matter of religion or faith. Even in Pakistan, Triple Talaq is banned. So it is an issue of gender equality, matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith. So keep the two separate.
India is of one opinion that everyone should get their due rights. There are some temples, which have their own traditions, where men can’t go. And men don’t go… In this, Sabrimala, a woman judge in the Supreme Court has made certain observations.
It needs to be read minutely. There is no need to attribute those to any political party. As a woman too, she has made some suggestions. There should be a debate on that as well sometimes.