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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Mann Ki Baat: Modi welcomes ‘constructive criticism’ of three-year rule

During his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’, the prime minister appreciated the opinion polls and surveys conducted over the last one month.

india Updated: May 28, 2017 20:00 IST

Saubhadra Chatterji, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(Reuters)

A couple of days after celebrating his third year in power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday welcomed constructive criticism of his government’s performance because such an action “strengthens democracy”.

“I am also influenced by good and bad things like the aam aadmi (common man),” Modi said during his monthly radio show, Mann Ki Baat. “Constructive criticism strengthens democracy. For an aware nation, an awakened nation, this churning is very important.”

This was a possible indication that his government would strive to plug possible shortcomings in his administration before facing the next Lok Sabha test.

The Prime Minister’s remarks come amid rising concern over growing unemployment and alleged intolerance. Employment generation was a key promise of the Modi government. However, economists claim that even if six-to-eight million youths were to get jobs each year, there would still be a backlog of 117 million.

Attacks on Muslims by self-styled gau-rakshaks in various BJP-ruled states have also become a matter of concern for the Centre.

“Audits and assessments of the government’s performance in the last three years have been happening on all TV channels, social media platforms and newspapers for 15 days now. Three years ago, you vested me with the responsibility of Pradhan Sewak – chief servant of the people. There have been many surveys and opinion polls in this regard. I see this entire process as a very healthy sign,” Modi said.

Brushing aside allegations of authoritarianism by political rivals, the Prime Minister said his government proves its accountability to the people by providing them with regular report cards on duties performed. “The work done in these years was tested on every touch stone. It was analysed by every segment of the society,” he added.

Modi said he treats praises and criticism with equal importance. “I thank the people who provided me with critical feedback. The mistakes and the shortcomings, once highlighted, can be rectified. Whether something is good, ineffective or downright bad, one should learn from it and move ahead in life.”

Addressing his first Mann Ki Baat in his fourth year of power, Modi spoke at length on the plurality of India in the backdrop of the holy month of Ramzan. In a bid to reach out to Muslims, he said the country was “very lucky” to have a tradition where people from all communities and faiths co-exist in peace. “This is a country where theists and atheists, idolaters and non-idolaters live in harmony. We have adapted ourselves to myriad kinds of ideologies, various ways of worship, and imbibed the art of co-existential living,” Modi added.

The Prime Minister’s pitch for peace and co-existence comes amid raging triple-talaq and gau-rakshak controversies in the country.

Lastly, the Prime Minister admitted that some listeners treat Mann Ki Baat “as a monologue” and criticise it from a political angle. “However, this programme has helped me become a member of every family in India,” he said.

First Published: May 28, 2017 16:43 IST

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