‘Opposition practising intellectual dishonesty’: PM Modi
The Opposition in India is practising “intellectual dishonesty”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an interview to Open magazine, in the context of opposition parties campaigning against the three farm laws enacted by the Centre last year.
“There are political parties which will grandiosely make promises before elections, even put them in their manifestos,” Modi said. “When the time comes to deliver on the same promises, these same parties and people do a complete U-turn.’’
“If you look at those who are opposing the pro-farmer reforms today, you will see the real meaning of intellectual dishonesty and rajneetik dhokhadhadi (political deceit),” he said.
The PM also discussed a range of issues, including the criticism of his policies, the trade-off between pro-business and pro-poor measures, and his government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The interview comes soon after the Bharat Bandh on Monday by farmers’ collective Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) that marked the first anniversary of the enactment of the farm laws that the group opposes. Several political parties, including the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Samajwadi Party (SP) and others, had voiced support for the nationwide strike.
“These were the same people who wrote letters to chief ministers, asking them to do the exact same thing that our government has done,” Modi said. “Yet, just because some other political party is enacting the same reforms, they have made a complete U-turn, and in a brazen display of intellectual dishonesty, completely disregard what will benefit the farmers and only seek what they think will benefit them politically.”
“You can see the same rajneetik dhokhadhadi when it comes to Aadhaar, GST, farm laws and even crucial matters such as arming our security forces. Promise something and make arguments for it but oppose the same thing later without any moral fibre,” he said.
The Prime Minister also discussed his view of the criticism that he and his policies have received over the course of his leadership. “I attach a big importance to criticism. I, with an honest mind, respect critics a lot. But, unfortunately, the number of critics is very few. Mostly, people only level allegations…”
He also dismissed the perceived trade-off between pro-poor and pro-business policies. “According to me, policymaking should be pro-people. By creating these artificial categories, you are missing out on interdependence in society. Business and people are not working with opposing objectives.”
While criticising the Congress governments before him, Modi said, “All governments formed in our country were fundamentally formed under the leadership of a person from Congress gotra. And that is why, for each of them, there was no difference between their political thought process and economic thought process...”
On India’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic, Modi said, “The biggest lesson from the Covid-19 fight is that India has an unparalleled ability to unite and a tremendous capacity to deliver.”
“In this scenario, India has done better than its peers and many developed countries, notwithstanding such negative campaigns. I have trust in our people and they have set an example for the world."