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Bumper voting in Kashmir most gratifying experience: PM Modi

12:48 AM May 29, 2024 IST | SHUCHISMITA
bumper voting in kashmir most gratifying experience  pm modi

Jammu, May 28:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while reiterating that bumper voting in Kashmir during parliamentary elections was the most gratifying experience for him, said that enthusiastic electoral participation by Kashmiri people meant their “commitment to the country's sovereignty and an embrace to the Constitution of India.”


Asserting that “Article 370 was an agenda of just four or five families in Kashmir”, pushed for their vested interests, he said he demolished that artificial wall and strengthened unity.


PM Modi stated this in an exclusive interview with a news agency ANI.


Query was - What was his take on record voting in Kashmir, more so in the areas where one could not imagine that it could ever happen this way and how would he analyse it?


Responding to it, PM Modi said, “First of all, with regard to the situation in J&K, which has undergone a perceptible change, I will like to pray to our judicial system (judiciary) in the country that if a government undertakes a work, it always has a design, a strategy to accomplish that task. One has to work with a strategy to address such kinds of problems.”


“For that I had to shut down the internet for a brief period. Some NGO went to the court (on this account) and that turned into a big issue in the court. Now analyse that situation, that decision and its impact in the present context. Agreed I had made a decision (with a purpose) to shut down the internet for some time. But now, the youth there proudly say that they have unhindered access to the internet and it has not been shut for the last five years. They say that they have been getting all desired facilities during the past five years. They had to endure suffering but it was for a good cause,” he asserted.


He pointed out, “When such crucial issues (decisions) get entangled in judicial battles; things become messier. It becomes difficult to accomplish a task (as per strategy). So it is imperative to shield the country against such NGOs, which have started relying on the courts, to fight out and entangle issues (to meet their vested ends).”


Coming back to bumper voting in Kashmir during the General Elections-2024, he said, “When a common man there (in Kashmir) votes; he does not vote (with just an intention) to simply make (any)one victorious. When he exercises his right of franchise – it means he embraces the Constitution of India. He votes to proudly contribute his bit to the process of government formation in India. His participation in voting means his affirmation and commitment to the sovereignty of India.”

“Secondly, it indicates that their belief in the fairness of government has strengthened. When they believe that they can repose their trust in this government and there is no scope for any deception, then they enthusiastically come out to vote. It is the result (of this trust) that the records of voting, during the last forty years or so, have been shattered. This is the most gratifying aspect for me that my brothers and sisters in Kashmir, who all constitute my family, have shown an overwhelming exuberance towards voting,” PM Modi shared his happiness.

He said that people in Kashmir not just came out of their houses to vote enthusiastically but also gave a resounding message to the world and those persons, who had misgivings and who used to express apprehensions.

When asked if it (overwhelming voting) was a vindication of his decision of abrogating Article 370, his response was, “Article 370 was an agenda of just four or five families there. It was neither an agenda of people of Kashmir nor the agenda of the people of the country. For their vested interests, they had created this wall of Article 370 so that none could peep into the life, the situation here.”

“They used to say if Article 370 was abrogated, it would trigger fire, devastation here; if it was removed, we would lose Kashmir. Truth is- it (present situation) is vindication that the abrogation of Article 370 has strengthened the integrity. The feeling of belongingness among Kashmiri people too has increased and this has found reflection in their overwhelming participation in the electoral process,” he asserted.

“This is visible in tourism trends also. G-20 summit (tourism meet) takes place there (in Srinagar). Kashmir warmly, graciously and very proudly welcomed the delegates from across the world. How they (opposition) created artificial walls on the false pretexts to project a fragmented picture of the country – this was an apt example. However, I’ve demolished that wall,” PM Modi said.


In response to a question if he was sure to achieve his set target of crossing 400 seats in 2024 elections which was in its last phase as the opposition was “convinced that BJP would not get beyond 220-240”, the Prime Minister said that he could foresee many expressions or aspects in the word “last phase.”

“First, this is an indicator of the beginning of our new phase (tenure). Secondly, this is the last phase for those who were making haughty claims on the basis of their fantasies. So, the last phase of election is also the ultimate phase defining their (opposition’s) situation or positioning (in the political-scape),” he said.


How and when reservation became a big, dominating issue in this election campaign, more so when he (Modi) was mainly focussed on micro-chips, manufacturing etc., at the outset but now he was raking up this (reservation) issue time and again in his election speeches.

When asked this, his response was, “No, I’m not bringing it (reservation issue) up. It’s just that I’ve to caution my sisters and brothers, belonging to SC, ST, OBC and most backward classes. Reason being, the opposition is resorting to loot (robbing them of their rights) by keeping them (SC, ST, OBCs etc.,) in the dark. Election is the perfect time to make the countrymen aware of this impending biggest danger. That is why I’m imploring masses to understand this ploy (of opposition) well in time. There are two aspects to it. First, the basic essence of the Constitution of India is being violated. Its (Constitution’s) basic tenets, its sanctity are being ravaged and that, too, for (their) vote-bank politics.”

“I remember, Congress leaders saying in the Parliament, rather accusing us of trying to obliterate reservation by resorting to privatisation of PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings). Surely, that was not a reality. They were indulging in fake propaganda. But meanwhile I came across a stark reality about them (opposition). They (opposition), who were posing to be well-wishes of Dalits (Scheduled Castes), Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes), were actually their biggest enemies,” PM Modi said.

“They (opposition) turned educational institutions overnight into minority institutions and that led to the end of reservation there (in minority institutions). To meet their end objective, they changed a law, going beyond their jurisdiction. Even the university was given a minority stature. For example, Jamia Millia University in Delhi was made a minority institution and thus all reservations ended there. At present, reservation is not applicable there - neither in admissions nor in services (jobs). Later, startling facts came to fore, there are around 10,000 institutions (across the country) where the reservation rights of SCs, STs and others have been snatched this way, through the back door. The Constitution's spirit has been annihilated. For their electoral politics, they have mortgaged the (reservation) system put in place in the Constitution by Baba Sahib Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar with a futuristic vision,” he stated.

The Prime Minister stated when he came across this worrisome turn of events, he realised that it was his duty to make the country aware of such nefarious designs (of opposition) and developments.

“In the meantime, their (Congress’) manifesto came into being. This further startled me. After going through it, my first comment was that it had the imprints of Muslim League. For a couple of days initially, they did not take notice of it (PM’s comment) thinking that they did not require a rejoinder to it and it would die down itself. When no explanation came, then I took it upon myself to expose it bit by bit. Like, if they say, in this country, we will fix a quota for the minority in the arena of sports even,” he said.

“Today, our children in Punjab are doing wonders in the field of sports; youth of Bengal are excelling in football and their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh are performing well in the discipline of athletics. They (sportspersons) are toiling hard day and night. After decades of hard work, they make their mark in their chosen field of sports and achieve enviable positions. They (Congress) say that there will be a quota for the minority now. Where will these exceptionally talented youth (sportspersons) go? It is not easy to become a player,” he elaborated, justifying his comment(s) about the Congress manifesto.

Quoting another ‘disturbing’ example (out of Congress’ manifesto), he mentioned that secondly it talked about reservation for a minority in the tendering process in the country.

“This means what... Suppose, if a significant, crucial bridge is to be constructed somewhere (in the country). Who will, ideally, do so? The person, who has an enviable track-record, resources, capability to perform this task and who fulfils all desired qualifications, will do it after facing a tough competition in the tendering process. But they say this will be a secondary proposition,” PM said.

“Tell me, if on the basis of religion, you’ll give a quota (tender) to construct a bridge, ignoring crucial aspects and later if it (bridge) collapses; people get killed, who will be responsible? For vote-bank politics, you want to ruin even the coming generations. So these were among some of the issues, which formed part of Congress manifesto for its electoral politics, then I thought it proper, felt myself duty-bound to fight to protect the rights of my SC, ST and OBC brothers and sisters. Precisely, I’m fighting a battle, on their behalf, to defend their constitutional rights,” Modi stated.


What’s behind the perception created and narrative weaved by the opposition that he (Modi) would end reservation if he retained power for the third time?

In response to this question, he said, “They have already committed this sin of desecrating and defying the spirit of Indian Constitution. Now, when I’m exposing their misdeeds, they are peddling a fake narrative, spreading canards to hide their nefarious designs and mislead gullible masses.”

Regarding a question about Calcutta High Court’s order to cancel all OBC certificates issued after 2010, the Prime Minister said that initially, they (opposition), in violation of the spirit of Constitution, made a law to give reservation to the minority. “First, it began in Andhra (Pradesh). They lost their case in the Supreme Court. Earlier, the High Court had rejected their plea because it was in violation of the constitution. So they played a trick and brought it through the back door. For this purpose, they overnight accorded OBC status to all Muslim castes (sects) and gave them reservation by robbing OBCs of their rights. We were raising this issue during electioneering. I’ve already told you that this has happened in Karnataka. Earlier, we had highlighted this issue in West Bengal, also. Meanwhile, the High Court’s decision came, exposing their big fraud being played on, at the expense of OBCs,” PM Modi said.

He asserted the most unfortunate aspect in the entire episode was that after resorting to vote-bank politics, they (opposition) were criticising judiciary also, using abusive expressions against it and casting aspersions on its integrity.

“They (opposition) have reached to the extent where their assertion is- ‘Come what may, we will not accept judicial verdict on this account.’ This situation cannot be acceptable – never, in any situation,” he said.

Responding to a query about Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation that he (Kejriwal) and former Chief Minister of Jharkhand Hemant Soren were sent to jail on his (PM’s) directions, Modi said that they should better read the Constitution of India.

Was the increasing trend of personal attacks (from both sides) during electioneering not disturbing?

Posed with this query, the Prime Minister said, “I’ve been facing it for the past two decades or so. Now I’ve become so habitual of their abusive expressions that I’ve literally become “Gaali-proof.” It does not affect me. Who initiated it? Who called me – “Maut Ka Saudagar”, “Gandi Naali Ka Keeda” ...One of my party colleagues had read out a list of 101 “Gaaliyan” (abusive expressions), opposition used against me. They (opposition) have become so habitual that they believe it is their exclusive right to call me names.”

Slightly miffed over a question related to the opposition’s allegation about “misuse of ED, IT, CBI” against its (opposition’s) leaders, PM Modi had a counter question. “They spread trash (canards) and media persons came out quizzing the government, the Prime Minister. Why do you not go to them and question the veracity of these kinds of their claims? Ask them to give evidence about it. Though I’m capable of recycling even this “Kooda-Kachra” (trash) to bring out or produce something useful, something productive for my countrymen yet media-persons should also do some research work to check veracity of such claims,” he stated.

“People should know that the Prime Minister has no such right; no right to sign even a cheque, which a Sarpanch has. What is our government’s mandate? The Modi government’s mandate is zero tolerance against corruption. We will stick to it and none will be spared,” he added.

Questioning the tendency to criticise investigative agencies when they are performing well, Modi said, “Rs 34 lakh were seized during Dr Manmohan Singh’s tenure. But during the last ten years, ED (Enforcement Directorate) has seized Rs 2200 Cr. Should they be praised or criticised for performing so well? And who is abusing or crying hoarse? Obviously, thieves (corrupt) and their accomplices as their ill-gotten money has been seized. But rest assured, our fight against corruption will not stop.”

With regard to a query about a verbal duel between him and the opposition vis-a-vis wealth-creators of the country, he said, “The question about it, should be posed to the opposition.”

When asked about his verbal assault against Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, with whom he had shared a good equation, he said that in democracy, there was no enmity with anyone. “I’m bothered about the future of Odisha...for the time being, I’m not bothered about my relations (with Patnaik). This is a question of Odisha’s Asmita (dignity),” he said and described June 4 as the “expiry date of the present Odisha government. “On June 10, the BJP Chief Minister of the new government will take an oath there,” he said.

Regarding West Bengal, PM Modi said that Trinamool Congress was fighting a battle for its existence there. “Mark my word, West Bengal will be the best performing state for BJP. It is a one-sided election,” he said.

Asked to describe the agenda of Modi 3.0 (government) and what people of India could expect, if he returned to power, PM Modi came out with a precise reply, “Just one-point agenda - “Viksit Bharat.” That’s all.”