Prime Minister Narendra Modi replied to controversies over his Kedarnath trip and the last “Mann ki Baat” apart from reminding his listeners of the importance of upholding democracy and reading books. His radio address began with a clarification on his trip to Kedarnath shrine before the last phase of general elections. He said it was not a political trip but an opportunity for him to meet himself. “Most people saw political meaning in it, but for me, it was an opportunity to meet my inner self. In one way it helped me fill the void left by ‘Mann ki Baat’ in the interim,” PM said Follow LIVE updates here.PM also rejected allegations that he had used February episode of “Mann ki Baat” -- last before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls-- to make a poll pitch.“People had given political meaning to my promise to return on “Mann ki Baat,” after polls. Critics called it ‘over confidence’ but it was your confidence that has aided my return. I couldn’t have come back on my own unless you invited me,” he said PM also spoke about the Emergency in 1977 and how fundamental rights were trampled during this period while emphasising the importance of polls in upholding democracy. “Every citizen during the Emergency felt like he had lost something,” he said. “Democracy is about respecting every single voter,” he added, recounting how electoral officers travelled for two days to set up a polling booth for a single woman residing in a remote Himachal location in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls. PM Narendra Modi said he was happy to see a positive response to his previous request --to inculcate a habit of reading books-- made to all his listeners. He said he was recently gifted a book of Premchand’s popular stories and it reminded him of the social challenges he grappled with in his youth.PM Narendra Modi’s radio programme “Mann Ki Baat” resumed today almost a month after the PM returned to power. This was the first ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme in Modi’s second consecutive term as the Prime Minister.