12 things PM Modi said in 95-minute interview, his first in 2019
In his first interview of 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on a variety of issues ranging from surgical strikes to demonetisation, and from the Ram temple issue to that of triple talaq and Sabarimala protests.
In the nearly 95-minute-long interview with news agency ANI, PM Modi also targeted the Congress party’s farm loan waivers that had been announced in the three states that the party won in the recent assembly elections.
On surgical strikes
Speaking at length on the surgical strikes that the Indian Army had carried out across the border in Pakistan, he said he was full of anxiety while the operation was on.
“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). I knew it was a big risk. The biggest consideration for me was the safety of our soldiers. In the morning, information flow stopped, for an hour. My anxiety increased. Even one hour after sunrise. That time was extremely difficult for me... Then came the information that they have not reached back yet but two-three units have reached the safe zone, so don’t worry. But I said I won’t be fine till the last man returns,” he said.
To say that Pakistan would behave after losing a fight would be a mistake, he said.
“Ek ladai se Pakistan sudhar jayega, yeh sochne mein bahut badi galti hogi. Pakistan ko sudarne mein abhi aur samay lagega (It will be a big mistake to think that Pakistan will start behaving after one fight. It will take a long time for Pakistan to start behaving),” he said.
On Ram temple
Reiterating that the Ram temple was part of the BJP manifesto and that the party was committed to finding a solution to the issue within the framework of the Constitution, PM Modi said, that the government will do what is necessary only after the judicial process gets over.
“We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the ambit of the Constitution. 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.
On triple talaq and Sabarimala
Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to compare the triple talaq bill to the Sabarimala issue saying that while one was a matter of gender equality, the other was a matter of tradition.
“Most Islamic countries 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,” he said.
On the contentious Sabarimala temple issue, he said, “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, she has made some suggestions. There should be a debate on that as well sometimes.”
PM Modi rejected the claim that the demonetisation move by the government in 2016 had come as a shock, he said, “This 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.”
On Urjit Patel’s resignation
Urjit Patel’s resignation as RBI chief was not something that happened due to any political pressure, Modi said.
“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. He did a good job as RBI Governor,” Modi said.
2019 Lok Sabha elections
Looking forward to the upcoming elections in 2019 and the noise being made around the Grand alliance and other fronts being formed by various political parties, he said that the elections were going to be “janta” versus “gathbandhan”.
“It is going to be ‘Janta’ versus ‘gathbandhan’. Modi is just a manifestation of public love and blessings,” he said.
On Congress’ first 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 Congress-mukt bharat
Taking Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s own words that Congress is a thought, PM Modi said that the country needs to be rid of such an ideology.
“Even Congress people say Congress is a thought, a culture. When I say Congress-mukt, I want to rid the country from this culture and this sort of thinking. And I say that Congress too needs to be mukt of this Congress culture,” he said.
On loan waivers and farmer suicides
Explaining his reference to the farm loan waivers carried out by the Congress in three states as “lollipops”, he said that the waivers were nothing but a lie.
“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. (So) when governments make such announcements (of loan waivers), those farmers ( who take loans from money lenders) do not become beneficiaries of the waivers. The farmers who are dying are out of the purview of such schemes.”
WATCH | PM Modi says farm loan waiver not effective, farmers must be empowered
“What is lacking in our system that a farmer becomes debt-ridden and the governments have to repeat this vicious cycle of elections and loan waivers?.. We should have a situation so that a farmer does not need loan,” he said.
“The solution is to empower the farmers. From seed to market, give all facilities to the farmers,” Modi said.
On Rafale deal
Reiterating that there was no wrong doing in the Rafale deal, he said that those who are questioning the deal are the ones who want to weaken the armed forces. “Those people who want to weaken the Army are levelling allegations against me... 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 against me... The matter has been cleared even by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court scrutinised it threadbare. The French President has spoken... Don’t throw muck and run away.... They (Congress) are not able to give any real evidence, just keep talking. Unko yeh bolne ki beemari hai toh mujhe kya baar baar ussi me ulajhna chahiye kya (If they have this problem of talking about it then should I too get entangled in it),” he said.
On Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya
Saying that the government was committed to bringing those who have cheated the country of crores to justice, Modi said that the accused will have to compensate for each and every paisa.
“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,” he said.
WATCH | PM Modi on Choksi, Nirav Modi: ‘Will get them back’