Us vs them: PM London talk hints at BJP likely poll plan
NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi’s remarks at a televised interaction in London provide strong indications that his forthcoming campaigns will see him target Congress by arguing that his government has registered big strides in comparison to UPA.
The PM told his audience on Wednesday that the NDA government, at least in its current term, should be compared to the 10 years of UPA. The implied suggestion was that if it were to win a second term it would then be held accountable for its own record in office in a subsequent election. “These five years — this time, not next — should be comparative and we have progressed on every parameter,” Modi said.
He used the occasion to underline a clearer and more purposeful approach on issues like dealing with terrorism emanating from Pakistan, speaking at length about the surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. “It is clear, India has changed, I will answer those who sponsor terrorism in their own language,” he said. The PM revealed that the Pakistan army had refused to come on line after the strikes. “I wanted Pakistan to be informed so that they could retrieve bodies, but they avoided being contacted for an hour.”
He said the difference was a focus and intent rather than a proclivity to enter into compromises. His remarks made it evident that he will keep Congress in the cross hairs for having left him a legacy of corruption and poor governance. He also said the pace of governance has vastly improved imparting a new sense of confidence, and a welcome impatience, among people.
He used personal episodes from his life like his experience in selling tea at railway station to say he learnt to cope with life and its challenges, harping in the theme of being the “pradhan sewak”. The PM, as he has before, put forward his humble beginnings to say that positions of power, seen to be reserved for certain “families” were no longer such preserves.
Modi pitched himself as the change agent, saying he was not satisfied with status quo. “I am happy with impatience that is also expectation and anticipation. People want more and more like better and better roads,” he said. “Same system has delivered in four years...I don’t want to criticise but a comparative study is needed. Today we have begun to think of the country as really our own. Democracy is not a contract. It is apartnership,” he said.
The benchmark of government, he said, was whether it had succeeded in reaching benefits to the last man. He also, as he had in India last week, strongly condemned the Kathua rape, adding that nothing is worse that comparing rapes under different governments. Looking to leverage his claim that his government has avoided scams, he said “I can make mistakes but not out of bad intentions. I am the target of critics. those who throw stones, I use them to build a path.”