NDA victory will be bigger in next year’s elections: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he would be reelected with an even bigger majority in parliament in 2019, dismissing opposition attempts to rouse opinion against his government for failing to deliver on promises of swift economic development and more jobs for young people.
Modi told the Times of India in an interview published yesterday that his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government is committed to improving the lives of all citizens regardless of faith.
Concerns have grown that his administration has been unable to rein in right-wing fringe groups that are trying to undermine India’s secular constitution by targeting the nation’s large Muslim minority.
“We will definitely get more seats than we got the last time and I am confident that we will break all records of the seats won by NDA (National Democratic Alliance) in the past and achieve greater glory.
“The people are with us and we have nothing to fear,” Modi told the newspaper in an e-mail interview.
Opinion polls show he remains the front runner to win another five-year term, but the party has suffered reverses in some local elections in the past few months that have energised the opposition.
The BJP failed to win power in Karnataka in May, the first big state to elect a new assembly this year in a contest widely seen as a test of its popularity after four years in office.
It also lost a few races in the big heartland state of Uttar Pradesh in the north.
But Modi said voters wanted a strong and decisive central government to deliver on India’s promise as a big economy and one of the potential drivers of global growth.
“My platform will be development, fast development and development for all...We have worked very hard in the last four years and we will go to the people with our track record of development,” Modi said.
The opposition, led by the Congress Party, is trying to pull together a grand alliance of regional parties and even communist groups to mount a joint campaign against Modi.
But the prime minister debunked the grand alliance as “political adventurism” and a “failed idea.”
Modi is seen as a divisive figure pushing a partisan, Hindufirst agenda.
Attacks on Muslims who are engaged in the cattle trade by Hindu vigilante groups who are opposed to the slaughter of cows have fuelled fears that the government is either unable or unwilling to restrain them.
The BJP denies any bias against Muslims and he told the Times of India that his government believes in equality in the rule of law for all citizens.
Asked what the government can do to reassure minorities and backward classes amid repeated incidents of lynching in the name of cow protection, the prime minister said even a single incident made him “very sad” and needed to be condemned in the “strongest voice”.
“I want to make it clear that mob lynching is a crime, no matter the motive. No person can, under any circumstances, take the law into his or her own hands and commit violence.”
Modi said allegations of a scam in Rafale jet deal was an attempt by the Congress to exorcise its Bofors ghost.
“It is an honest and transparent deal.”
On Pakistan and relations with the new government led by Imran Khan that is set to take charge in Islamabad, Modi said: “We hope Pakistan would work for a safe, secure, stable and prosperous region, free from terror and violence.”
About Assam’s National Register of Citizens, the prime minister said preventing illegal migrants was a commitment in the IndiraMujib Accord of 1972 and the Rajiv Gandhi-AASU Accord of 1985.
“Though the Congress accepted it, vote bank politics – that the party is adept at – prevented it from actually implementing the process. The Congress lacked political will and courage. It is guilty of criminal negligence.”
On the chances of bringing fugitive industrialists like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi back to India, Modi again blamed policies of the previous government that made it easy for people to borrow and scoot.
“I would like to reaffirm (our) stand. Anyone who fraudulently takes public money and absconds will not be spared.”
The BJP won 282 seats in the 2014 general election, giving it a simple majority in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament.
The BJP-led NDA won 336 seats out of 543.
The opposition last month moved a no-confidence vote against the government but Modi easily survived thanks to his parliamentary majority.