PM Narendra Modi to media: Raise debate on inner party democracy

PM Modi’s remarks come in the backdrop of reports that the Congress is set to declare Rahul Gandhi as its president.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: October 29, 2017 11:26:14 am
(From left) BJP chief Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the media to raise a debate on “internal democracy” in political parties. He admitted that “many voices” have emerged even in a party like the BJP, in which the “overall thought process” used to be the same earlier. Addressing journalists at a ‘Diwali Milan’ function at the BJP headquarters, Modi said: “There should be a debate on the internal democracy of parties. The media should watch how the parties function, how the leadership emerges, how democratic values and ideology are being practiced in the parties. Because it’s through political parties only, one person can go up or come down in a democracy like India,” he said.

Modi’s remarks come in the backdrop of reports that the Congress is set to declare Rahul Gandhi as its president. Addressing party workers at a meeting in poll-bound Gujarat earlier this month, Modi had said that the state assembly elections would be a battle between development and dynasty.

The Prime Minister said today that parties with a “true democratic spirit” are essential for a healthy democracy. He added that different voices have emerged even in a party like the BJP as it has grown in size.

“I remember when I was not in politics, it was the early days of the BJP, I used to read newspapers and understand what was the party’s overall thought process. At every occasion, the thought that crossed the mind of someone from the top central leadership to a junior in the party would be similar, although they could express that in different words. Today, even in our party, we hear many voices. It is because the size of the party has grown, making it difficult to give intense training and communicate,” he said.

Modi also lauded the media’s role in supporting his government’s initiatives like Swachh Bharat. “The country has witnessed the positive role played by the media in making the Swachh Bharat Mission a success,” he said.

Besides BJP president Amit Shah, who also spoke on the occasion, the function was attended by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, and senior party leaders including Ram Lal.

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