'Very Confident Of Victory In 2024 Assembly Elections,' PM Modi During FT Interview; Ducks Question On Muslim Minority

'Very Confident Of Victory In 2024 Assembly Elections,' PM Modi During FT Interview; Ducks Question On Muslim Minority

"Our critics are entitled to their opinions and the freedom to express them. However, there is a fundamental issue with such allegations, which often appear as criticisms."

V SudarshanUpdated: Friday, December 22, 2023, 03:05 AM IST
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PM Narendra Modi | Photo: PTI

Those who doubt his government "will also be proven wrong" Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the Financial Times in an interview.

"In 1947, when India was independent, the British who left made a lot of very dire predictions about India's future. But we have seen that those predictions and preconceptions have all been proven false," he said. He was responding to queries put by the Financial Times, both face to face, and through written responses, in an interview done shortly after the results of the assembly elections came in, as the BJP was celebrating.

PM "very confident of victory" in 2024 elections

The FT did not make clear which portions were written responses and which were directly put to the PM. The Prime Minister insisted that he was "very confident of victory" in the general elections as well. "Today the people of India have very different aspirations from the ones they had 10 years back", he pointed out.

"They realise that our nation is on the cusp of a take-off. They want this flight to be expedited, and they know that the best party to expedite this is the one which brought them this far", he told the FT.

PM ducks question on Muslim Minority

Significantly, Prime Minister Modi ducked a question on Muslim Minority. According to the FT, when asked about what future the Muslim minority has in India, Modi points instead to the economic success of the Indian Parsees, who he describes as a "religious micro-minority residing in India."

"Despite facing persecution elsewhere in the world, they have found a safe haven in India, living happily and prospering", Modi says in a response that makes no direct reference to the country's roughly 200 million Muslims." That shows that the Indian society itself has no feeling of discrimination towards any religious minority."

PM laughs away question on crackdown of critics

The Prime Minister laughed away one of the questions. A question about the Modi government's alleged crackdown on his critics elicited a long and hearty laugh, reports the FT.

"There is whole ecosystem that is using the freedom available in our country to hurl these allegations at us every day, through editorials, TV channels, social media, videos, tweets, etc" Modi says. They have the right to do so. But the others have an equal right to respond with facts."

Elsewhere during the interview, Prime Minister Modi said, "Our critics are entitled to their opinions and the freedom to express them. However, there is a fundamental issue with such allegations, which often appear as criticisms," he said about concerns over the health of Indian democracy. "These claims not only insult the intelligence of the Indian people but also underestimate their deep commitment to values like diversity and democracy."

PM's reply on corruption, administrative hurdles, and skills gap

Asked about corruption, administrative hurdles, and skills gap among youth being obstacles to replicating the China's economic take-off, Modi responded saying, "It is important to recognise that India wouldn't have achieved the status of the world's fastest growing economy if the issues you've highlighted were as pervasive as suggested. Often these concerns stem from perceptions and altering peceptions sometimes takes time."

When his attention is directed to India's data on unemployment being inadequate and that as reported by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, the rate was running at 9 per cent, Modi "instead cites unemployment data gathered by the Periodic Labour Force Survey, which Modi says, "points to a consistent decline in unemployment rates."

"When evaluating different performance parameters like productivity and infrastructure expansion, it becomes evident that employment generation in India, a vast and youthful nation, has indeed accelerated," he told the FT.

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