In rare PC, ‘disciplined’ PM directs questions to party boss
Prime Minister Narendra Modi walking into BJP’s Press conference room at the BJP headquarters surprised scribes on Friday as it had not happened in the last five-year of his tenure. While excited journalists hoped a rare freewheeling question-answer session with him, the Prime Minster did not oblige them and merely expressed confidence that the NDA was set to return to power. In PM’s place, party chief Amit Shah interacted with the journalists.
Modi chose not to answer questions saying he will not answer because the Press conference is being addressed by Shah, and in BJP’s system, discipline has to be followed. “We are disciplined soldiers of the party. The party president is everything for us,” Modi said.
Shah started fielding queries with Modi looking at scribes whom he had thanked and complimented on their hard work and hoped that they would have an opportunity to take rest after the grueling campaign coverage.
Modi had flown from Madhya Pradesh and drove to the BJP office here to brief the media on his experience and expectations from the seven-phase poll.
Exuding full-confidence of again heading the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government at the Centre, the Prime Minister affirmed that the new Government would start working on BJP’s manifesto promises at the earliest.
Claiming that it was after a long time that the Government at the Centre was returning with ease, Modi said, “Rarely has it happened that a majority Government after completing five years will come to power again. Political pundits should do an analysis of it as why it happened.”
He claimed that the Government of 2014 and 2019 were formed with “mandate of people” and not on account of any particular “situation” or “dynastic tradition” as was the case with previous Government formations.
In a subtle dig at the heads of journalistic organisations, Modi asked reporters to ask their bosses to “analyse” why a second-mandate is given to a Government.
He said his campaign was a thanksgiving to people for five years when in different twists and turns the nation stood with him. “Maine kaha jo yatra hamne shuru ki usko badhane ke liye aapka ashirwad bhi chahiye, aur main dekh raha hoon ki janata pahale se jyada badh chadh ke ashirwad de rahi hai” (I sought their blessings to continue our journey at the Centre and I am seeing that they are giving greater mandate than they gave in 2014).
Taking a swipe at the pollsters, Modi said, “These punters were the biggest casualty on May 17, a day after Lok Sabha results were announced in 2014”. Saying that these punters were then controlled by the Congress, he said, “Ye saab doob gaye the.”
“People have decided on Government formation… We will move forward as early as possible,” Modi said, adding poll-promises as mentioned in the “Sankalp Patra” (manifesto) would be decided and acted upon.
He said his Government’s USP was the last mile delivery of all the welfare schemes which he said was “new culture of governance”.
Shah, who addressed the Press conference and took questions, mentioned 133 Central schemes which, he said, impacted 50 crore people at all level as these were monitored directly by PMO.
Modi said he started his first campaign from Meerut, the city of 1857 rebellion, and concluded in Madhya Pradesh where revolutionary Bhima, a tribal, led it and was executed by the British.
The Prime Minster said entire BJP campaign was planned to the minutest detail.
Answering question on Opposition accusing BJP of lowering the level of campaigning, Shah said “Nothing else could be started from them, BJP did not start it and raising corruption is lowering down level…”
He said BJP would on its own win more than 300 LS seats and NDA would form the Government “but those who identify with our ideology are welcome to join us.” He said arm-chair calculations cannot explain poll results and the party would repeat its record poll percentage in Lok Sabha poll like it did in Tripura.
Shah said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should answer for the violence in the State saying 80 BJP worker killed in the State in one and half year.
Asked about Congress charge on Rafale fighter-jet deal, he said if Congress president Rahul Gandhi has information he should have informed the Supreme Court. “There is no basis for his charges.. he should apologise,” he said.
The BJP president said his party would do well in North-East, “very well” in West Bengal and improve in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Shah informed that at the end of seven-phase campaign the Prime Minister addressed 142 rallies and conducted four roadshows and “connected with 1.5 crore people”.
Saturday, 18 May 2019 | Deepak K Upreti | New Delhi