While the period from 2014 to 2019 was one for fulfilling basic and fundamental needs of people, the period from 2019 onwards would be to fulfil the aspirations of people of the country, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while delivering the keynote address at the concluding session of the India Today Conclave 2019 on Saturday here.
In a speech charged with political innuendo, PM Modi took multiple jibes at the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Congress party. “Even in your studio discussions, when I became PM in 2014, everyone had doubts if I could do justice to the job. I had been a CM and didn’t know how the Union government functions. I was neither from a family of six individuals whom people could have assumed would be able to do the job,” he said. “I could have fitted snugly into the old system, but I did not,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi then turned his attention towards the raging issue of the strikes on Pakistan following the Pulwama attack. “This is a new India and a changed India,” he said, adding: “The blood of every soldier is valuable. No one can threaten us. India as nidar, nirbheek and nirnayak (brave, fearless, decisive).”
The PM also took the Rafale issue head-on, saying, “Today there is talk that India is missing the Rafale jets. The nation is wondering that if India had Rafale jets today, the outcome of the recent incidents would have been something different.”
Modi urged the Opposition to find faults with his government’s work and policies, but said do not oppose matters concerning national security. “I am surprised that when the whole country is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with armed forces, some people suspect our forces. These people have moved from being critical of Modi to criticising their own country. You might as well be strengthening people like Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed,” he said.
Switching to English mid way, PM Modi listed all the programmes including Swachh Bharat Mission, Jan Dhan Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana and Ayushmaan Bharat executed by his government. He also criticised the previous governments, saying, “those who ruled India were interested in two things, doles and deals.” He said his government had eliminated middlemen in the defence acquisition process. “Everyone knows who every deal-maker is close to surely Lutyens’ Delhi knows.”
The Prime Minister asserted that his government works in “totality” and does not indulge in “tokenism.”
PM Modi used AajTak’s tagline, ‘Sabse Tez’ to state that his government policies had yielded quick results. “GDP growth is the fastest after 1991, poverty reduction rate is the fastest, inflation is coming down fastest,” he said, quipping: “Just as Aaj Tak’s tagline is Sabse Tez, my government’s lifeline is Sabse Tez.”
Earlier, while welcoming the Prime Minister, Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group, described him as a fearless warrior against corruption. “PM Modi has the singular capacity to break the mould, from being CM of Gujarat to now.” Taking a cue from the prime minister who uses a lot of acronyms, Purie said Modi stands for “ABCD: Authoritative, Bold, Charismatic and Development”.