Nearly a week after he underlined “Ekta aur Mamata” (unity and compassion) as the twin themes for a political consensus on Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday reached out to the Valley with the new slogan of “Vikas aur Vishwas”, development and trust.
Replying to questions about the ongoing unrest in the Valley, the Prime Minister, in an interview to CNN-News 18, said, “Kashmir needs development and the people of Kashmir also need trust. The 125 crore people of the country never allowed any deficit in trust. We have to move forward on the path of development and trust.”
Prime Minister Modi’s remarks come just two days before an all-party delegation is scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir as part of the Centre’s efforts to bring peace to the Valley. “I have faith that the youth of Kashmir will not be misled. If all of us move together with peace, unity and harmony, Kashmir, which is considered heaven, will indeed remain one,” Modi said.
Speaking on the incidents of communal violence and atrocities against Dalits over the last two years, the Prime Minister blamed “thekedars” (self-appointed protectors) for playing politics over what was “a social problem” to create tension.
“As far as some incidents are concerned, they are condemnable. But we should not forget that law and order is a state subject. There is a conspiracy to raise selective issues and put the blame on Modi for it. I do not know what is the purpose of those doing this, but it damages the country,” he said.
Claiming that incidents of communal violence and atrocities against Dalits and tribals have come down under his government, Modi said that “those who have destroyed the society by injecting caste poison” are levelling baseless allegations as they are not being able to digest the fact that the Prime Minister is “Dalitwadi and mad about tribals”.
“I am devoted to the development of all Dalits, oppressed, underprivileged and deprived. Those who see this as an obstruction to their politics are the ones creating trouble,” said Modi, while cautioning leaders in his own party “not to make unnecessary statements” before the media.
Asked about political dynasties being spared by his government, in an indirect reference to the Gandhi family, Modi said that his administration “never opened any file due to political reasons” and allowed the law to take its own course. “Hence, saying that I did not spare any dynasty is not correct,” he said, adding that he never looked at issues through the prism of politics.
To questions on the economy, the Prime Minister said that soon after his government was formed, there was a thought that a white paper on the situation that his administration had inherited should be brought out. But, he said, he chose to go by “Rashtraniti” (national policy) while ignoring “Rajniti” (politics) as it would have had a dampening effect on the economy and plunged the nation into pessimism.
The Prime Minister, however, steered clear of questions about the BJP’s prospects in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election coming up next year, saying elections are to be held in five states and UP was one of them but added that he hoped that people will vote for development.
While on the topic, he also argued for holding elections at all levels at the same time to delink development from the polls but added that it would be possible only if all parties are in agreement and the Election Commission takes the lead in this matter.
At the same time, he also took a dig at “super political pundits sitting in air-conditioned rooms” reading politics in every issue, much more than those who actually practice politics.
Replying to questions about his discomfort with the people operating in the corridors of power in Lutyens’ Delhi, the Prime Minister said that this circuit also gave a raw deal to leaders like Sardar Patel and former prime ministers such as Morarji Desai, Chaudhary Charan Singh, H D Deve Gowda.
“This is not the question of Modi. Sardar Patel was projected as a villager with average intelligence. What work Morarji bhai did was discussed less than what he used to drink. It was highlighted that Deve Gowda, who was the son of a farmer, keeps sleeping,” he said, adding that even B R Ambedkar was mocked similarly.