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Not afraid of being seen with industrialists: PM Modi hits back at critics, oppn

PM Modi said that if your intentions are noble, it will no matter who you are standing next to.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2018 19:21 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey, Hindustan Times, Lucknow
PM Modi,Narendra Modi,Uttar Pradesh
PM Modi said industrialists too contribute to nation building and it was not right to label them all as thieves.(Narendra Modi/Twitter)

Hitting back at criticism that he was friendly with corporates, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he wasn’t “afraid of standing alongside industrialists” because he was honest.

“(Why) should we insult industrialists, call them thieves and dacoits? What is this? But at the same time the unscrupulous ones would either have to flee the country or spend life in jail,” he said in Lucknow at a ceremony marking the launch of 81 investment projects worth over Rs 60,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh.

“The support of every section is important to take the country forward. We are not afraid of standing alongside industrialists. When the intentions are honest, your image remains intact irrespective of whom you stand with,” he said while speaking in Hindi.

“Just as farmers, artists, bankers, government employees and labourers have a role in shaping the country, similarly industrialists also have a contribution to make in the nation’s development.”

Modi’s speech comes after opposition parties’ allegation that his government had failed to bring back diamond merchant Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi, and liquor baron Vijay Mallya--three tycoons who have fled the country after being accused of financial frauds. The Congress party in Parliament’s monsoon session has targeted Modi for allegedly giving the offset contract in the Rafale jet deal with France to “one of his corporate friends” at the expense of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Modi rejected such criticism, saying there are politcians who won’t be seen with industrialists in public but secretly pressured to do their bidding. “Getting photos of some people with industrialists is virtually impossible but there won’t be a single industrialist who has not prostrated before them in private,” he said.

“Amar Singh ji is sitting here. He knows everyone’s history,” he said, pointing out the industrialist and politician who was present at the function.

“Don’t we know in whose planes they (rival parties’ leaders) travel?” the Prime Minister said.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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First Published: Jul 29, 2018 16:31 IST