Interview: PM Modi reaches out to the masses with ‘BJP model vs Congress model’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Interview: PM Modi reaches out to the masses with ‘BJP model vs Congress model’

Apr 12, 2024 12:37 PM IST

PM Modi hailed the achievements of his government on the economic and foreign policy fronts and drew a contrast between the BJP model and the Congress model

In an interview with HT’s sister publication Hindustan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win a historic third term in the general elections that begin next week, highlighting his administration’s 10-year-old record on development, welfare, infrastructure and achievements, such as the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir and the opening of the Ram Temple.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting on Thursday ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. (ANI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting on Thursday ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. (ANI Photo)

How are these general elections different from the previous two (2014 and 2019) because it’s being said that there is not enough enthusiasm among voters and that there is no “wave” ? Is there a mood of anti-incumbency?

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Elections are the biggest festival of democracy in India. It is not the elections, but the opposition camp that is dull because of their certain defeat. Even the Opposition believes that the NDA government will return to power, which is why several opposition leaders are shying away from poll campaigns. Many people have started blaming EVMs (electronic voting machines) even before the polls have begun.

If you wish to see the wave, you will have to go to the ground, be among the masses. You will see the enthusiasm among people for the third term of the BJP government at the Centre. Our workers are already in the field. Now, even citizens have taken to the streets with “Phir Ek Baar, Modi Sarkar” slogans. When was the last time you saw something like this in the entire world, that even after 10 years of a government, the masses are engaged to re-elect them to power with the same enthusiasm and absolute fervour? The 2024 general elections are also going to be a subject of study for political experts.

People of this country are taking note of the fact that India is the fifth-largest and the fastest-growing economy in the world. The third-largest startup ecosystem of the world is in India. Our space missions, the Make in India campaign, and the unprecedented speed of infrastructure development are topics of discussions all over the world. People have immensely benefited with rail, road and airport development works. We are way ahead of other countries in real time digital payment systems.

Lord Shri Ram has returned to his grand abode in Ayodhya after a wait of 500 years.

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Kashmir is free from the shackles of Article 370 and has become a part of the country’s development story.

Most importantly, people have got the opportunity to compare the “BJP Model” and the “Congress Model” for the first time.

The Congress ruled the country with full majority for 5-6 decades. In comparison, the BJP has served with absolute majority for only one decade. When they had full majority governments, all they did was strengthen their family. Today, when we have a majority government, our priority is to strengthen the country — villages, the poor, our farmers, and the middle-class society.

Today, not only the country, but the whole world is seeing the difference between the two. Our report card of 10 years is proof that the BJP fulfils its guarantees. Now, we are going to the masses with our vision of a Developed India by 2047.

We have a vision of an India in which every citizen has shelter above their head and every youth has job opportunities. We are engaged in building an India where farmers are happy and prosperous, and women are empowered.

The fact that 25 crore (250 million) people have come out of poverty, toilets have been constructed in more than 11 crore (110 million) households, and more than 4 crore (40 million) poor people have their own houses proves that the BJP government at the Centre is dedicated to serving the poor.

And what you have witnessed in the last 10 years is just the trailer. A lot more work has to be done. We have to take the country far ahead.

You recently said that stricter actions will be taken against corruption in the third term. Will this be limited to only political corruption, or will it also happen in the bureaucracy and the government systems? Because corruption is rampant at lower levels even today.

Eliminating corruption has been a key priority of our government for the last 10 years. We took steps to act against corruption at several levels immediately after forming the new government in 2014. We ended Group C and Group D interviews in central recruitments. We started the National Single Window System for clearance in the country. We tried to make government services as faceless as possible.

We created the DBT (direct benefit transfer) system to prevent the money of the poor from going into the pockets of middlemen. As a result, we have removed the names of more than 10 crore (100 million) fake beneficiaries who were not even born. By doing this, the government saved 2.75 lakh crore from going into the wrong hands.

I am committed to taking strict action against the corrupt. Steps are being taken even in states where the BJP is in power. The narratives you have heard, that it is only political corruption that we are after, are being circulated by people who are under the sword of investigative agencies.

Let me tell you another fact which is not discussed much. Of the corruption cases probed by the Enforcement Directorate, only 3% have people associated with politics. The remaining 97% cases are linked to officials and criminals. Action is being taken against them too.

Those who see benefits in a corrupt system are the ones who are crying foul and presenting the wrong picture in front of the people. ED has also arrested many corrupt officers. Assets worth thousands of crores of corrupt bureaucrats, criminals linked to illicit funding, and drug dealers have been attached. Before 2014, ED attached assets worth only 5,000 crores, whereas in the last 10 years that amount has increased to more than 1 lakh crore.

Before 2014, ED seized only 34 lakh in cash, while under our government it has seized more than 2,200 crore in cash. Imagine, if this money was invested in welfare schemes for the poor, how many people would have benefited, how many opportunities could have been created for the youth; so many new infrastructure projects could have been launched.

Whatever be the level of corruption, it impacts the people of the country.

I assure your readers that action against such people, who steal the money meant for the welfare of the people of this country, will not end.

Along with sugarcane, adequate measures should also be taken for its 126 by-products. Like 30-35% of ethanol from sugarcane is being used in petrol in Brazil. It is just 10% in our country. In some places, paper, crockery and plyboards are also being made with sugarcane bagasse. Are any steps going to be taken regarding this in the future?

I appreciate you asking this question because it raises a very important issue. The BJP government at the Centre is moving forward with a holistic and sustainable development approach. Be it sugarcane farmers or any other class, our government has a comprehensive plan for their progress.

Ethanol-blending has not only increased the income of sugarcane farmers, but it has also strengthened our efforts for sustainable development. We achieved the target of blending up to 10% ethanol in petrol five months back. At present, that has reached around 12%, and we are well on our way towards achieving the goal of ethanol blending up to 20%.

India formed the Global Biofuel Alliance during the G20 Summit and appealed to countries around the world to participate. This is a testament to India’s commitment to biofuels and the environment.

Because of the increasing push for ethanol-blending in petrol, sugarcane farmers have received more than 1 lakh crore in the last 10 years. If I had announced 1 lakh crore to farmers in advance through any government scheme, it would have made headlines in the media and even caught your attention. But my focus is on a more permanent solution to the issues sugarcane farmers face, than making headlines.

The government also invested 40,000 crore in ethanol distilleries, thereby creating a lot of employment opportunities.

We are rapidly reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and in that mission, sugarcane by-products have been of immense help. Sugarcane bagasse has also contributed to an increase in the production of electricity. The production capacity of sugarcane bagasse and biomass cogeneration plants in the country is being continuously increased.

At present, we are dependent on imports to meet our potash needs. However, efforts are being made to reduce that dependence with the help of sugarcane bagasse.

The use of press-mud, one of the by-products of sugarcane is also gradually increasing. One, it is being used as a bio fertiliser. Secondly, press-mud also plays a crucial role in the production of CBG, or compressed biogas.

The cups, plates, bowls and spoons that were used during the consecration ceremony of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya were made from sugarcane bagasse. With us using such things in our day-to-day lives, the utility of sugarcane by-products has also increased.

It is said that water and youth of the hills are of no use to the region itself. Every day, people are leaving villages in Uttarakhand. The Centre has launched Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) in 49 villages for the development of border villages. What other measures will be taken to stop migration in other areas?

In the last 10 years, I have undertaken the work which the previous governments considered impossible to do. It is not in my nature to sit idle after seeing problems. In the time of those who neglected the hilly areas for decades, this saying was true that the water and youth of the mountains were of no use to them. But I have resolved to change this saying. The BJP governments at the Centre and in Uttarakhand have placed special focus on the development of hilly areas.

When I say that this decade is the decade of Uttarakhand, there is a solid base behind my belief. I have full faith in the potential of Uttarakhand and the capabilities of its people. The people of Uttarakhand will take it to new heights of development.

In the last few years, we have taken several important steps to curb migration. Efforts have been made to provide better opportunities for education, health, employment and connectivity to the people of Uttarakhand. Unprecedented steps have been taken to improve roads, railways, ropeways and airways. As a result of this, the youth of the hills are now getting better education opportunities with new avenues of employment within the hills.

For example, we have approved the plan to build IT labs and hostels in 20 colleges of Uttarakhand. Entrepreneurship program is being run in the colleges here in collaboration with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India.

An MERU Centre has been approved in Kumaon University under the PM Usha scheme. New resources are being developed for students in SDS University, Open University, and Doon University.

The increase in the number of tourists in hilly areas like Uttarakhand creates new employment opportunities at many levels.

Our government made access to the temples of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Hemkund Sahib, Manas Khand easier, and developed facilities for the tourists due to which there has been an increase in the number of tourists to these places.

Let me give you the example of Kedarnath. In 2012, 5.5 lakh devotees came there, which was a record. The natural disaster that occurred in 2013 caused a lot of damage. Seeing the condition after disaster, people had given up hope that they would ever be able to go to Kedarnath. But our government resolved to change this situation. The result of this was that in 2023, about 20 lakh pilgrims reached Baba Kedarnath for darshan.

If I include the devotees of the entire Char Dham Yatra, this number will exceed 55 lakhs.

The Parvatmal Yojana and the Char Dham Project will expand tourism in Uttarakhand in an unprecedented manner in the time to come. I am confident that soon the number of devotees will reach crores.

Considering the sensitivity of the hills, we have also expanded our capacity to deal with disasters. You might remember what an important role India played as a rescue team during the natural disaster in Turkey. The Indian team was appreciated all over the world for this work. In Uttarakhand, too, we have been able to deal with disasters proactively and restore normalcy as soon as possible.

To promote employment, our government is running several schemes related to agriculture and horticulture. Special focus is being laid on horticulture of Apple, Kiwi and High Altitude Fruits and construction of polyhouses.

Our Vibrant Village Program will not only benefit the border villages. If the road reaches the first village of the country, it will go through many districts and villages. If the telecom facility reaches the first village of the country, it will connect many villages before that with the network.

More than 600 villages are being developed under the Vibrant Village Scheme. Along with increasing the facilities in these villages, care is being taken to ensure that the traditions and culture of the villages should not be harmed.

If we talk about tourism development, planning to establish new cities is considered necessary. Due to lack of facilities, tourists are not able to reach remote villages. Mobile phones are still not ringing in 429 villages. Will the center help in this sphere?

I think Indian reporters need to spend more time on the ground.

It is true that Uttarakhand has been a victim of Congress’s neglect for decades after independence. Because of this, Uttarakhand remained far behind in terms of development. Now the BJP government is working with full force to help Uttarakhand get out of this situation.

Our government has started necessary measures for the development of infrastructure for tourism in Uttarakhand and due to this, tourism has expanded in the state. Apart from the main tourist places, efforts are also being made to bring such places on the tourism map which are not visited by many tourists. Tourism possibilities are being enhanced through development of infrastructure at such places.

Till a few years ago, Pithoragarh, which is a very beautiful tourist place in Uttarakhand, was considered far away from Dehradun and Delhi. It took many hours for travelers to reach here, but today, this distance can be covered in a very short time. Helicopters and airline services have made it easy to reach here. Roads have been widened which has made road travel more convenient.

Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri will be connected by an about 900km-long highway soon. It will be easy to reach Badrinath and Kedarnath Dham through Karnaprayag-Rishikesh railway line. To reduce the traffic pressure in Dehradun, a bypass road is being constructed at a cost of 700 crore. Today, one can reach Dehradun from Delhi in less than five hours on the Vande Bharat train.

Along with physical infrastructure, our government has also continuously focused on digital infrastructure. An approval has been given to install 4G mobile towers even in remote villages of Uttarakhand. BSNL is installing about 500 new 4G towers here, and more than 60 towers are being upgraded. With this, the villages which are currently getting 2G or 3G service will start getting 4G facilities. More than 1,000 crore is being spent on this project. About 93% of the people of Uttarakhand are getting the benefit of 4G internet service, and in the third innings of our government, we will take this figure to 100%.

Also read: As Opposition alleges political vendetta, Modi defends anti-graft action

5G rollout in India has been the fastest in the world. 5G service is also available in many areas of Uttarakhand. Today, all four Dhams of Uttarakhand have 5G connectivity. With 5G connectivity in Gangotri, the milestone of 5G connectivity in 2 lakh sites across India was achieved.

Uttarakhand has today emerged as the favorite destination for workcation and staycation for the youth of the country.

I would like to tell the people of Uttarakhand that their dream is my resolve. The BJP has fielded strong candidates to give voice to the aspirations of the people of Uttarakhand. Through them, the people there will always be connected with me. These strong, hardworking and rooted candidates will become the representatives of Uttarakhand in Parliament and will continue to work for the development of the state.

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