With crucial state polls around the corner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday cautioned BJP MPs and MLAs against making needless remarks, which he said gave the media “masala”, damaged the party’s image and the nation. In an interaction through the Narendra Modi mobile app, he asked party MPs, MLAs and leaders to let those “responsible for comments” do their work. “It may sound bitter, but it is important for me to say this to you. Sometimes our workers criticise media, but we have to think if we committed mistakes and gave masala to the media,” Modi was heard saying in a video.
“We consider ourselves experts and intelligent, so we tend to give comments whenever we see cameras. Then the media takes bits and pieces of it, according to what they want, and use it.” Modi also said he had spoken to some MPs who initially “had the habit of making comments on everything”. “If everyone keeps commenting on it, the issue will change and it will damage the nation. It also affects our image,” he said. “It (their silence) did not affect our party at all. Don’t blame the media. They are doing their work. You don’t need to stand before the TV cameras to guide the nation. Those who are entrusted with that work will do it,” he said during the interaction.
In recent months, several BJP leaders have drawn criticism for controversial remarks. On April 17, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had said that the Internet and satellite communication existed in the days of the Mahabharata; on March 17, Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan claimed British cosmologist Stephen Hawking had “said that on record that our Vedas might have a theory which is superior to Einstein’s theory of E=mc2”; and on January 19, Union Minister of State for Education Dr Satya Pal Singh had termed Darwinian evolution as invalid because no one had seen an ape turn into a human.
As the BJP gears up for a fierce electoral battle against the ruling Congress in Karnataka on May 12, Modi also emphasised that the BJP is no longer a party of a particular community or limited to urban areas nor is it a north Indian party. “That image has changed now. Today, BJP is backed by all sections of society and by every corner of the country. It has emerged as an all-inclusive organisation. Our mass base is increasing among all sections of the society and it is our biggest asset,” Modi was quoted as saying during the interaction. He also told MPs that they should remember that the BJP, which came into power with a clear majority in 2014 elections, was chosen not because of the “mistakes committed” by the then ruling Congress, but because of its “connect” with the people.
During the interaction, he also mentioned several government welfare schemes including the ambitious health insurance scheme, ‘Ayushmaan Bharat’, and schemes aimed at farmers, youth and women among others and asked his party’s lawmakers to spread their reach. He also took questions from elected representatives on various issues including youth skill development, rural development and farmer welfare.