Speaking about the airstrikes in Balakot, Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that “Pakistan will die its own death”. Addressing a ‘Main bhi Chowkidar’ event here that, the BJP claimed, was beamed across the country at 500 places, Modi said Pakistan had started opening its airspace now believing “Modi was busy with elections”. “For me, the country is priority, not elections,” he said, adding that he does not takes such decisions considering political gains.
“We have spent a lot of time doing ‘India-Pakistan’. Pakistan will die its own death, leave that and lets move ahead,” the PM said.
In a veiled attack on the Congress’s minimum income guarantee plan, Modi said that from Jawaharlal Nehru onwards, the Nehru Gandhi family had been raising the slogan of poverty even as poverty itself had increased.
Click for more election news
“Iss desh ke pehle pradhan mantri ne garibi ke prati chinta vyakt ki thi, garibi door karne ki bata kahi thi… Uske baad unki beti ne usko aage badhaya, garibi ko bhi badhaya aur naare ko bhi badhaya. Uske baad beti ke bete ne badhaya. Usne bhi garibi badhai aur naara bhi badhaya. Garibi badhti aur naara bada hota jaata hai. Phir beti ki bete ki widow ne remote control se desh chalaya 10 saal, usne bhi aage badhaya. Ab unke shehjaade aaye, woh bhi chala rahe hain (The country’s first prime minister expressed worry regarding poverty, talked about eradicating it… Then his daughter took it forward, both poverty and the slogan. After which came her son. He too took forward both poverty and the slogan. Poverty kept growing, and the slogan kept growing. Then the daughter’s son’s widow ran the country for 10 years, and took it forward. Now her heir has come, and is taking it forward),” he said.
Warning people against “false promises”, Modi said, “Some people know that they are not coming to power and are making several promises… woh revadiyan baant rahe hain. I appeal to first-time voters to look into the track record of those people and not listen to their taped record.”
Modi also said the country does not need “rajas, maharajas, hukumdaars”. “I am sure the people like chowkidars… I am happy that the spirit of chowkidar is constantly expanding.”
On a question on corruption during the interaction with people from different parts of the country, the PM said those who have looted the country will have to “return every single penny”. “From 2014 to 2019, I took some people to the threshold of jails. But I need more time to take them inside. I need your blessings. In the coming time, I am going to be more strict with those who are looting the country,” Modi said.
When a person from Maharashtra gave credit of the airstrikes to Modi and hailed his courage in taking that decision, Modi said, “I did not execute the Balakot (operation). Jawans and security forces executed that… I could take the decision because I have faith in my armed forces. I gave them a free hand because I have confidence in their discipline.”
On “the thinking behind the decision”, he cited the Mumbai and Uri terror attacks and said, “We have been suffering due to terrorism for the last 40 years. Who commits this sin, where is the remote control, everybody knows… So I decided that from where this is controlled, the game will be played there. The playing field will be theirs.”
Modi claimed Pakistan was in a fix over the strikes. “They have been saying there are no terror camps. Now they have to hide them. They are not allowing anybody to go there. I have been told that a particular area is being reconstructed by Pakistan to show that a school is being run there so that people can be taken there and shown that no terror camp existed there.”
He repeated that those abusing Modi inside India were helping Pakistan with their statements on the issue.
Modi also said that while people earlier did not consider the BJP a strong party in Odisha, “This time Odisha is going to surprise the country. This time Odisha will become second Tripura. I recently visited and saw the enthusiasm there.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines