NDA vic­tory will be big­ger in next year’s elec­tions: Modi

Gulf Times - - INDIA -

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.

Modi: con­fi­dent

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