Committed to restore J&K’s statehood at right time: PM Modi

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KC NEWS DESK

Srinagar: Reiterating his commitment for restoration of J&K’s statehood at a “right time”, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday stated that during the entire election process so far, the most satisfying moment for him was good voter turnout in Srinagar as it aptly justified his policies.

He said it demonstrated that he did not discriminate on the basis of religion and whatever he did was in the interest of Kashmir and its youth.

With regard to restoration of statehood, he asserted that he stood committed for it. In this connection, he used the analogy of growing wheat in the right season to get a good harvest. “If I choose the right season to grow wheat, it will give me a good harvest. But if I don’t choose the right season, I’ll lose my seeds also,” he said.

He stated this in an exclusive interview with ‘India Today’ news channel, while responding to queries about Jammu and Kashmir, post abrogation of Article 370.

“It would have been better if you had asked me this question. But you did not do so. Since you’ve raised this topic (Kashmir issue) so I use this opportunity to frame a question for me and then answer it also. You know during this entire election process so far, which has been the most gratifying moment for me,” Modi queried, while responding to a question about J&K people’s grouse vis-a-vis snatching of statehood, post abrogation of Article 370.

“The most satisfying moment for me is the huge (good) voter turnout in Srinagar as it has confirmed that my policies are right. I don’t resort to discrimination. My government does not discriminate on the basis of religion,” he said.

“As far as (restoration of) statehood is concerned, we’ve made a commitment on this, in the Parliament. We are committed to it. We want to be successful, not in terms of power but (in terms of improvement in) the situation,” he said.

“Earlier we used to face a lot of criticism; even we had to face abuses when we shut down the internet. Even during meetings, the media persons and others would question us – You’ve shut down the internet, what kind of democracy is this? Yes, we’ve faced a lot of abuse. But I’m happy that we’ve done these things, keeping in view Kashmir’s interest.

I did a lot of good for Kashmir. I could foresee the future. Your vision was focussed about 24-hour news channels but I was envisioning the future and interest of my country. Even after getting abused for shutting down the internet, it’s satisfying for me that I was successful in saving the future of my youth in Kashmir; saved them from going astray,” Prime Minister shared.

He stated that the second most satisfying aspect for him was to save children of several mothers during the last ten years.

“Secondly, the most satisfying thought for me is – see during the period of ten years from 2004-2014, how many mothers lost their children? Now 2014 to 2024, how many mothers were saved from losing their children; how many lives of youth were saved… What can be more satisfying than this in life? That’s why I reiterate that statehood is our commitment. We will do whatever it takes for success. I want to grow wheat, if I choose the right season to grow, it will give me a good harvest. But if I don’t choose the right season, I’ll lose my seeds also,” he said.

What’s next for Kashmir? In response to this question, he said, “First media will accept this fact (positive change in Kashmir). Few days ago, I addressed a rally. Probably after 40 years, there was such a huge crowd. But what kind of comments poured in – government employees would have been brought in…For me election is not just going to a polling station and voting there but actually a festival – a festival of democracy. It (election) should be celebrated like a festival. It was heartening to see that happening in Srinagar this time. Now all those (critics) are tight-lipped. For me, this was a very gratifying moment to see people celebrating, enjoying guffaws over a cup of tea and voting,” PM Modi said.

“People elect me and have elected me to bring about transformational changes, not just to run the government,” he said, while responding to questions about his 100-day action plan.

“Earlier I had picked up 100 days of actionable points out of a five year action plan. Now I’m excited to work for 125 days. I’m feeling the aspirations of the youth – those additional 25 days would be dedicated to the youth,” PM Modi stated.

Exuding confidence that he would return as the Prime Minister for the third time, he said, smilingly, “You (media-persons) are late in reaching this conclusion. The Russian President extended me an invitation for a meeting in September’24 besides I’ve got an invitation for the G-7 meeting as well.”

“Lotus is our candidate. I had galvanised my entire party. I’ve never preferred a comfort zone. I create challenges for me, if there are not any. As I want to work for people,” Modi said, while responding to a query about preparations for elections.

Why has he fixed the “…400 paar” target for him?

“We were already having 400 or 400 as National Democratic Alliance. As a leader, this is my responsibility to motivate my team, party and alliance to improve our performance,” he said.

In response to another question about ECI, he said, “Election Commission of India has written a letter. Experts should debate that letter. Those who worked in the Election Commission worked as Governors, became MPs. I feel that the Election Commission has become independent now. ECI is a unique institution for the entire world. Huge management for the election process is subject for research for management students across the world.”

“In Goa, UCC is already there. The Supreme Court in its several orders has asked for implementation of UCC. UCC was brought to the Constituent Assembly as well. For the first time, former Prime Minister Pandit Nehru fiddled with the Constitution by restricting freedom of speech. This tradition was followed by his daughter during her tenure as the Prime Minister who imposed Emergency also and then her son, again a former Prime Minister. Four persons of the same family demolished the spirit of the Constitution of India. But now I would not allow it to happen as they wanted to implement religion-based reservation against the spirit of the constitution,” PM Modi said, while answering queries about the opposition’s charges.

“For Congress family, democracy only means being in power,” he said.

ED, CBI are very aggressive on the opposition leaders but they go soft on those who join the party – responding to this question, PM Modi said, “In fact, ED should be asked why it did not work (for which it was being paid) in those ten years (2004-2014). In our tenure, they are working. Our fight is against corruption irrespective of party ideology.”

On a question about an international report about growing “income inequality” in India, “Changes cannot happen overnight.”

“There should be respect for wealth-creators, achievers from every arena in India,” he said.

“I’m not attacking Muslims. I’m attacking the politics of appeasement. I’m following the policy of secularism. I believe that there should be no discrimination in governance. My policies speak for themselves that is why I want saturation of all government schemes,” Modi said, when asked why he was giving statements against Muslims.

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