Modi Should Make Equality & Not Growth His Main Target

A crucial and key aspect of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) election campaign is the rallies that Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses across India. Modi, 73, is a powerful orator and he has a hectic itinerary, criss-crossing the country to address public rallies, sometimes as many as three or even four in a single day. The rallies are usually huge, with hundreds of thousands of people turning up to hear him deliver his speeches, which resonate regardless of one’s political views. In India’s current political scenario there isn’t anybody else whose public speeches can match up to Modi’s.

Last week, in Cooch Behar a northern district of West Bengal, which will go to the polls on April 19 in the first phase of India’s 44-day parliamentary elections, Modi, in his customary style of exhorting public responses (and sometimes referring to himself in the third person), asked the crowd four rhetorical questions: Should we or should we not make India the world’s third largest economic power? For that do we need a strong government or not? Does Modi provide a strong government or not? Will Modi provide a strong government in future or not? 

The target of making India the world’s third largest economy (measured by GDP) is not only attainable but it may even be low-hanging fruit–not very difficult to pick. Economists and organisations like the World Economic Forum (WEF) believe India’s economy is on track to become the world’s third largest, possibly by the end of this decade. 

India is currently the world’s fifth largest economy with a GDP of around $3.7 trillion. The US and China hold the top two spots, followed by Japan and Germany. 

India’s economic growth rate is expected to be around 6.7% on average over the next seven years, which is higher than most other major economies. This growth is fueled by factors like a large young population, increasing digital adoption, government reforms, growth in domestic consumption, and investment in infrastructure.

Several financial institutions believe India can achieve its target of becoming the third biggest economy within the next 3-7 years by maintaining a growth rate of around 7-8% This would require surpassing the growth rates of Germany and Japan, and staying competitive with China’s projected growth.

According to S&P, the American credit rating agency, India could achieve this goal by 2030, or, just after the end of term of the next Parliament. Others, including Modi, believe it could happen even earlier. 

Shocking Inequality is Widening

Becoming the third-largest economic power would undoubtedly be a moment of pride for all Indians. Yet, the more important challenge–and one that no one, including Modi, likes talking about–is the deplorable level of economic inequality in India. While India’s policymakers and politicians have professed to make growth inclusive and ensure that the benefits of economic progress reach all segments of society, it has not happened. 

In his speech at Cooch Behar last week, Modi claimed that in the past 10 years, his government had pulled 250 million Indians out of poverty. It is true that during his regime, which began in 2014, India has witnessed a significant decline in multidimensional poverty from 29.17% in 2013-14 to 11.28% in 2022-23. This represents a reduction of 17.89 percentage points. Multidimensional poverty indices break down poverty levels in different areas of a country and among various sub-groups of people, and consider factors besides only income–like education, health, living standards, and other essential aspects of well-being.

Yet, as poverty declines, income inequality in India has widened. According to Oxfam India’s “Survival of the Richest: The India Supplement”, the top 1% in India owned more than 40.5% of total wealth in 2021, while the bottom 50% of the population (700 million people) has around 3% of total wealth. From the beginning of the Covid pandemic till November 2022,  billionaires in India have seen their wealth surge by 121%. That means by a staggering Rs 3608 crore per day in real terms (or Rs 2.5 crore a minute!). 

Take a few moments to digest those numbers and then consider this: The country still has the world’s highest number of poor at 228.9 million. On the flipside of that is the fact that, according to Forbes, the number of billionaires in India rose from 169 last year to 200 this year, making it the world’s third largest concentration of the ultra-rich. 

Additionally, the richest 10% in India collectively own 72.5% of the country’s wealth, further emphasising how acute inequality is in India and the fact that although India’s policymakers can feel proud about making it the world’s fastest growing economy, that pride is superficial. Modi’s avowed target of making India the third largest global economy means little really to the masses of people who gather to hear him speak at his election rallies.

Huge Challenge of Joblessness

According to Oxfam’s index, India ranks 147th out of 157 countries in terms of commitment to reducing inequality. India’s Gini index, which measures income distribution inequality, in 2021 was 35.7. The Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. A Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality. 

In a way, India is trapped in the cycle of inequality. Economic disparities hinder India’s poorest from being socially mobile and to move up the ladder. Economic inequality intersects with caste, gender, and background disparities, thus making it even more difficult to break out of that cycle.

Concentration of wealth in the hands of a few can undermine social justice and cohesion and further perpetuate inequality. 

A classic textbook method of redistributing wealth is to tax incomes progressively. Yet, in India despite the concentration of wealth among a few, the number of people who pay taxes is abysmally low. Only 20.9 million people paid income tax in 2021-22. In the same year, there were 943.5 million adults among the population. Unless the income tax net is widened, meaningful redistribution of wealth will be impossible to achieve.

The biggest challenge that policymakers face is youth unemployment. According to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) released this year, youth unemployment (20-34 age group) has been on the rise. In the October-December 2023 quarter, 44.49% of those in the age group of 20-24 were unemployed, while for the 25-29 age-group it was 14.33%, and for  the 30-34 age group it was 2.49%. Breakups of that data show that the problem is particularly acute in rural India where youth unemployment is at record levels. Remember too that the number of Indians that are 15-24 is estimated at 250 million, more than half the population of the European Union.

So when Prime Minister Modi exhorts crowds at his election rallies with slogans about making India one of the world’s most powerful economies, we might need to stop and wonder what power he is talking about.

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Katchatheevu island

They Simply Did Not Care: Jaishankar On Katchatheevu Controversy

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s accusation against the Opposition regarding the Katchatheevu island row stating that the the country’s first Prime Minister, wanted to give away the island to Sri Lanka.

The issue pertains to the year 1974 when the then Indira Gandhi government had accepted the island was a Sri Lankan area under the India-Sri Lankan maritime agreement.

The issue has again resurfaced after a media report based on a RTI reply received by Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai on the 1974 pact.

PM Modi yesterday shared a statement by late DMK MP Era Sezhiyan expressing anger at the India-Sri Lanka Maritime Agreement signed by the then Indira Gandhi government by which India relinquished its claim on Katchatheevu Island and called it “an unholy agreement.”

Addressing a press conference in the national capital, EAM S Jaishankar said, “Today, it is important for the public to know and the people to judge, this issue has been hidden too long from the gaze of the public.”

“… We are talking about 1958 and 1960… The main people in the case wanted to make sure that at least we should get the fishing rights… The island was given away in 1974 and the fishing rights were given away in 1976… One, the most basic recurring (aspect) is the indifference shown by the then central government and the PMs about the territory of India…

“That fact is they simply did not care…,” Jaishankar said in his press conference.

“In an observation given by the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru in May 1961, he wrote, ‘I attach no importance at all to this little island and I would have no hesitation in giving up our claim to it. I do not like matters like this pending indefinitely and being raised again and again in parliament.’ So, to Pandit Nehru, this was a little island, it had no importance, he saw it as a nuisance… For him, the sooner you give it away, the better… This view continued on to Indira Gandhi as well…” the EAM added.

The External affairs minister put the Congress in the dock for completely ignoring Indian concerns on the island. 

“The PM (Indira Gandhi) is said to have remarked in the AICC meeting that this is a little rock. I am reminded of those days when Pandit Nehru called our northern boundary as a place where not a blade of grass grew. I would like to remind them that after this historic statement by PM Nehru, he never regained the confidence of the country. The same was going to happen to the PM (Indira Gandhi) when she says that this is only a little rock and that there is nothing to worry about the territories of our country.’… So, this is not just one PM… This dismissive attitude…was the historic Congress attitude towards Katchatheevu…” Jaishankar said. (ANI)

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Modi Flaunts Recycled Jacket

Modi Flaunts Recycled Jacket During Interaction With Bill Gates

India is moving ahead at a rapid pace in scaling up its renewable energy capacity in areas such as wind and solar energy and wants to move fast in nuclear energy and green hydrogen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

In an interaction with Mircrosoft co-founder Bill Gates, Prime Minister Modi talked about India’s culture of recycling waste and said the half-jacket he was wearing was made of recycled material with a speciality that it had been made using spare cloth pieces at tailors’ shops and also using recycled plastic bottles.

“Recycling and Reusing are inherent to our nature. This jacket is made from recycled material. Even this has specialty. There are waste cloth pieces at tailor’s shop, all this waste material has been collected. It has been made of old clothes and thirty to forty percent waste plastic bottles have been used and all this has been recycled to make the cloth (for the jacket),” PM Modi said.

PM Modi told Bill Gates that the country is making rapid growth in renewable energy and has provided for a corpus fund of Rs 1 lakh crore in the budget to encourage the younger generation to contribute with innovative ideas.

“I believe we should adopt a two-prolonged strategy. First is innovation, and the goal should be to evaluate environment-friendly and climate-friendly innovations. To this end, India has established a corpus fund of Rs 1 lakh crore in this budget inviting the younger generation to contribute their innovative ideas. We are offering interest-free loans for 50 years to support these innovations…,” he added.

PM Modi also told Bill Gates about the launch of India’s first indigenous green hydrogen fuel cell inland waterway vessel.

“In Tamil Nadu, I launched green hydrogen fuel cell boat. This environmental friendly boat ride I have thought of running from Kashi to Ayodhya so that it reinforces my movement for clean Ganga and there is message towards environment-conscious society,” PM Modi said.

“There’s another important thing we need to focus on in our lifestyle. That’s why I started Mission life which stands for lifestyle for environment. It’s because living a climate friendly life daily is crucial. If we don’t embrace a life that respects nature, it doesn’t matter how much external effort we put in and how many new innovations we create. Our way of life should be in sync…our current challenge is how we view progress,” he said.

PM Modi launched hydrogen fuel cell inland waterway vessel under the Harit Nauka initiative during his visit to Tamil Nadu last month and said it is a gift of the people of Tamil Nadu for Kashi. He said that he witnessed the enthusiasm and affection of the people of Tamil Nadu in Kashi Tamil Sangamam.

India has invested Rs 16.93 lakh crore in the power and renewable energy sectors since 2014, with an additional Rs 17.05 lakh crore in the pipeline. In 2024, India is likely to witness an investment of Rs 1,37,500 crore (about USD 16.5 billion) in renewable energy capacity, which would be higher than 13.5 GW with an investment of Rs 74,250 crore (nearly USD 9 billion) seen in 2023.

PM Modi said that data security is of concern and public awareness is crucial.

“Today, data security remains a paramount concern. While India has a legal framework in place, public awareness is equally crucial.”

PM Modi said technology should be used to ease of living of citizens.

“In our country, I have initiated storing all university certificates in the cloud to reduce costs and to fulfill various needs efficiently. Earlier, there was a push for stringent compliance requirements. But I advocated and ensured simplification, and made the data to be uploaded to the cloud with shared IDs, enabling us to access necessary information directly. This approach underscores my commitment to leveraging technology not just to enhance services, but also to significantly improve the ease of living for our citizens,” PM Modi said.

“Also, in the case of deepfakes, it is crucial to acknowledge and present that a particular deepfake content is AI-generated along with the mention of its source. These measures are really important, especially in the beginning. We, thus, need to establish some dos and don’ts,” he added.

PM Modi talked about his government using technology to increase income of people.

“I have launched a programme – NaMo Drone Didi. I have two goals behind this programme- to make 3 crore ‘Lakhpati Didis’ in the country i.e. making 3 crore women of the country to earn Rs. 1 lakh annually, that too from underprivileged families. I want to modernise agriculture, and I want to ensure women’s participation in the same. Today, Drone Didis say – ‘We didn’t know how to ride a bicycle, but today, we have become pilots, we’re operating drones,” PM Modi said.

“I am ensuring technological advancements in agriculture too. We are bringing a big revolution, and I want to change the mindset. The technological advancements I am most excited about are in the sectors of health, agriculture and education. I have built around 2 lakh Ayushman Arogya Mandirs in villages. I directly connect these health centres with the best hospitals keeping modern technology as a bridge between the two,” he added.

PM Modi said during the G20 Summit in Indonesia, representatives from around the world expressed their curiosity about the digital revolution we’ve spearheaded.

“I explained to them our foundational approach…we have democratised technology to prevent monopoly. It is by the people and for the people. We’re committed to ensure that emerging talent from within the community can continuously contribute and enhance its value to foster trust in technology among people,” he said.

“I want to lead a government in which any unnecessary governmental intervention from the lives of the middle class people gets eliminated. For those in poverty, who genuinely require government assistance, the assistance should be readily available in abundance,” he added. (ANI)

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global recognition of Garba UNESCO

Modi Hails UNESCO Recognition For Garba, Shares Certificate

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed his joy over the global recognition of Garba, a traditional dance form from India.

The PM added that Garba found a place on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. I am glad that the Certificate of Inscription was presented a few days ago in Paris.

“Garba is a celebration of life, culture and devotion. It also brings people together. It is gladdening to note that Garba’s global popularity on the rise! Sometime ago, Garba found a place in the @UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. I am glad that the Certificate of Inscription was presented a few days back in Paris. At the same time, a memorable Garba Night was also held in Paris, which was attended the Indian community in large numbers,” he said in a tweet on X.

PM Modi also shared some photographs of people enjoying the Garba dance and a copy of the UNESCO certificate.

“Garba of Gujarat was inscribed in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity by UNESCO, under the provisions of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage during the 18th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage from December 5-9, 2023, in Kasane, Botswana,” as per the Ministry of Culture.

As per the Ministry of Culture, Garba of Gujarat is the 15th ICH element from India to join this list.

Garba is a ritualistic and devotional dance that is performed on the occasion of the of Navaratri festival. The dance takes place around a perforated earthenware pot lit with an oil lamp, or an image of the mother goddess Amba.

Participating dancers move around the centre in a counter-clockwise circle, using simple movements while singing and clapping their hands in unison.

The Gujarati dance starts with slow circular movements and the tempo slowly builds up to a frenzied whirling. (ANI)

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Bhutan Modi

Bhutan: Modi Interacts With Members Of Indian Diaspora In Thimphu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day state visit to Bhutan, interacted with the members of the Indian diaspora and the local people of Bhutan who gathered to welcome him outside the Hotel in Bhutan’s national capital, Thimphu.

PM Modi was welcomed with a cultural performance at the Hotel and people holding Indian flags to see him.

Later on, PM greeted the other officials gathered at the Hotel.

The members of the Indian community on meeting PM Modi expressed their happiness and said that they felt honoured to meet PM Modi.

“We saw PM Modi. We were very excited to see him. He came to meet us, he greeted us and saw cultural dance. It was really a good feeling and we were really honoured to see him so closely. Thanks to the Indian embassy, and Indian community here for giving me this opportunity,” Varun Amar, who has been working in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) said.

Dr Pallavi Majumdar, working in Bhutan said that this was a big event for them and she felt privileged to be part of the event.

“This was a big event. There was a lot of anticipation that PM Modi would come to Bhutan. As an Indian community, I feel very privileged and honoured to see him as such close quarters. Felt very good,” she said.

Earlier, PM Modi received a rousing welcome from the people who turned out in large numbers to accord a warm reception in Bhutan.

In an unprecedented welcome for PM Modi in Bhutan, people lined up the streets across the entire stretch of 45 kms from Paro to the national capital, Thimphu.

It was as if a human wall was present across the entire stretch of 45 kms from Paro to Thimphu and the entire Bhutan was on roads.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday received a warm reception at the Paro International Airport as he landed in Bhutan’s Paro International Airport to pay an official state visit.

PM Modi’s arrival embraced relations between Bhutan and India as Bhutanese PM Tshering Tongay gave the former a warm hug.

Later on, PM Modi was accorded a grand guard of honour at the airport from Bhutanese armed forces.

PM Modi departed for Bhutan on Friday morning and is scheduled to pay a state visit to Bhutan from March 22-23.

Ahead of PM Modi’s arrival in Bhutan, concerned authorities made elaborate preparations to welcome the leader at Paro International Airport.

PM Modi’s posters along with his Bhutanese counterpart have been put up at the airport and the venue was decorated with flowers and Rangoli (coloured artwork).

A red carpet and colourful flags to portray Bhutanese culture were also set up to welcome PM Modi.

During his visit to Bhutan, PM Modi will attend various programmes to further enhance India-Bhutan bilateral partnership.

India and Bhutan share a unique and exemplary bilateral relationship founded on mutual trust, goodwill, and understanding.

Formal diplomatic ties between the two countries were established in 1968, with the cornerstone being the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1949 and subsequently renewed in February 2007.

Over the years, high-level exchanges have played a pivotal role in nurturing the strong bond between India and Bhutan.

King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, has made several visits to India, underscoring the close ties between the two nations. His last visit to India was in November 2023.

Similarly, PM Modi’s visit to Bhutan in August 2019 marked a significant milestone, with the launch of major bilateral projects aimed at bolstering economic cooperation and connectivity.

The recent official visit of Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan to India in March 2024 further reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to enhancing bilateral relations across various domains, including development cooperation and vibrant economic ties. (ANI)

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Russian President Vladimir Putin Ukraine

Modi Stresses Dialogue, Diplomacy For Ukraine Crisis Resolution With Putin

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and reiterated India’s stand on dialogue and diplomacy as a way for the resolution of the ongoing war against Ukraine, said an official release.

“The two leaders agreed to make concerted efforts towards further strengthening the Special & Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries in the years to come. They also reviewed progress in various issues of bilateral cooperation, and exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest,” an official release said.

“While discussing the Russia-Ukraine conflict, PM reiterated India’s consistent position in favour of dialogue and diplomacy as the way forward. The two leaders agreed to remain in touch,” it added.

Meanwhile, Kremlin also shared details of President Putin’s conversation with PM Modi and said that the former informed the latter about the ongoing situation in the war-torn region of Ukraine.

President Putin also emphasised Ukraine’s refusal to take political and diplomatic steps to settle the conflict.

“The President of Russia gave his assessment of the current state of affairs in the zone of the special military operation. He emphasised Kiev’s categorical refusal to take political and diplomatic steps to settle the conflict,” the President of Russia said in a statement.

“In connection with the events of June 24, Narendra Modi expressed understanding and support of the resolute actions by the Russian leadership to protect law and order and ensure stability in the country and security of its people,” it added.

On June 24, 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner Group, led an armed rebellion against the Russian defense minister. The rebellion started in Rostov-on-Don, in southern Russia, and forces loyal to Prigozhin marched toward Moscow.

The rebellion was called off after Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko intervened. In a televised address on June 24, President of Russia Vladimir Putin denounced Wagner’s actions as treason and pledged to quell the rebellion.

Further in the conversation, both leaders discussed the bilateral cooperation between the two countries and expressed their satisfaction over the increase in trade.

“During the discussion of topical issues of bilateral cooperation, the leaders noted the importance of further consistent implementation of large-scale joint projects in different areas and voiced their satisfaction over a tangible increase in trade in 2022 and the first quarter of the current year,” Kremlin said.

“Special attention was paid to interaction in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the G20, in which India is holding the rotating presidency this year, and in the BRICS format. In addition, Narendra Modi told Vladimir Putin about his international contacts, including his recent visit to Washington,” it added.

The statement said further, “The conversation was substantive and constructive. The leaders confirmed their mutual desire to strengthen the Russia-India specially privileged strategic partnership and planned future contacts.”

Earlier in 2022, PM Modi’s advice to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine war during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand has grabbed the attention of leading international media organisations.

“Today’s era is not of war and I have spoken to you about it on the call. Today we will get the opportunity to talk about how we can progress on the path of peace. India and Russia have stayed together with each other for several decades,” PM Modi told Putin expressing his concerns about the impact of the war on food and energy security.

“We spoke several times on the phone about India-Russia bilateral relations and various issues. We should find ways to address the problems of food, fuel security and fertilizers. I want to thank Russia and Ukraine for helping us to evacuate our students from Ukraine,” he added.

International media praised PM Modi’s diplomatic acumen, who in a friendly tone pushed the concerns of the global community to its long-standing friend Russia.

American publication -CNN praised PM Modi’s hold on world politics and reported ” Indian leader Narendra Modi tells Putin: Now is not the time for war.” (ANI)

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Rahul Gandhi

Modi Takes Veiled Dig At Rahul At Startup Mahakumbh

Though veiled but seemingly targeting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew a parallel between startups and politics.

Addressing the Startup Mahakumbh, one of thhe first large congregation of startups, the Prime Minister said many people try to launch political startups but the difference between them and the original startups is the latter’s thrust for new ideas.

“Many people try to ‘launch’ startups, especially in politics, sometimes multiple times… The difference between you and them is that you’re experimental. You try new ideas after the failure of one launch,” the prime minister said, in his initial remarks.

Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir in 2023 and the latest Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from Imphal to Mumbai which culminated this week are seen as a rebranding of the Congress leader and to portray him as the face of the principal Opposition party ahead of the General elections.

Rahul Gandhi is again contesting from his current Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.

The Prime Minister also spoke on the pace of innovation and development saying that India had made the right decisions at the right time.

“Today, the energy & vibe is amazing! Strolling along the stalls and watching your inventions, I could feel the vibe that India’s future holds many Unicorns and Decacorns. For promoting startups, India made the right decisions at the right time” he said.

“Over the past decades, we have seen how India has made huge strides in the software and IT sector. Now, we can see the pace of development of innovation and startup culture in India,” he added.

PM Modi also highlighted the government’s role in creating an effective startup ecosystem.

“India has attempted to bring together startup ecosystems from around the world under Startup-20. In the same Bharat Mandapam, startups were not only included for the first time in the Delhi Declaration of G-20, but were also considered as natural engines of growth” he said.

“India is the world’s 3rd largest startup ecosystem. There are over 1.25 lakh registered startups which generate employment for over 12 lakh people. India has over 110 unicorns… Our startups have registered over 12,000 patents” he added.

Lok Sabha elections 2024 will be held in seven phases beginning from April 19 till June 1, and results slated to be release on June 4. A total of 96.8 crore voters will be eligible to cast their vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. (ANI)

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Rahul Gandhi Modi

Modi Hits Back At Rahul’s Shakti Remark

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hit back at Rahul Gandhi over his ‘Shakti’ remark and said that he is willing to sacrifice his life for ‘Shakti’.

Addressing a rally in Jagtial, the Prime Minister said that it was an honour for him that Nari Shakti has gathered to bless and support him.

“The INDI alliance in their manifesto said that their fight is against ‘Shakti’. For me, every mother, daughter and sister is a form of ‘Shakti’. I worship them in the form of ‘Shakti’. I am the worshiper of Bharat Mata…Their manifesto is to finish ‘Shakti’, and I accept the challenge…’Main jaan ki baazi laga dunga’,” PM Modi said. 

He further said that his government dedicated the success of the Chandrayaan mission by naming the point where Chandrayaan landed as ‘Shiv Shakti’. 

“Can someone talk about the destruction of ‘Shakti’?…We dedicated the success of the Chandrayaan mission by naming the point where Chandrayaan landed as ‘Shiv Shakti’…The fight is between those who want to destroy ‘Shakti’ and those who worship ‘Shakti’…’Muqabla 4 June ko ho jaaega’,” he added. 

The Prime Minister further said that on the one hand there are people who talk about the destruction of power while on the other hand there are people who worship Shakti. 

Rahul Gandhi, in his comments made on Sunday in Maharashtra, had raised concerns about the operation of Electronic Voting Machines, to emphasize the Opposition’s struggle against the might of the state

“There is a word ‘Shakti’ (might) in Hinduism. We are fighting against a Shakti (might of the state). The question is, what is that Shakti and what does it entail for us? The soul and integrity of EVMs have been traded to the King (Modi). This is a fact. Not just EVMs but every autonomous institution of the country, be it the ED, CBI or Income Tax department, have traded their spines to the Centre,” Rahul said in an address in Mumbai. 

The elections for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held from April 19 to June 1, with the counting of votes scheduled for June 4. (ANI)

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi

I Am Planning For 2047: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that he is already planning for the year 2047 adding that he has never worked for headlines but has always ensured to complete his work within deadlines.

When asked at the India Today Conclave whether Prime Minister Modi is already preparing for the 2029 Lok Sabha elections, the Prime Minister said,” Find out what Modi is. You are stuck on 2029 but I am planning for 2047.”

PM Modi further mentioned that today the mood of the nation is about making India a Viksit Bharat.

“Today the process of celebrating the biggest democratic festival has started. At a time when the whole world is facing uncertainties, one thing is sure India will keep developing at a fast pace. Today the mood of the nation is about India’s efforts towards becoming the third biggest economy in the world. The mood of the nation is about making India a Viksit Bharat. Whenever I come at such conclave all you have expectations that I give many headlines but I don’t work for headlines, but for deadlines,” he said.

Prime Minister further said that the Northeast region of the country was neglected by the government before 2014 but became a priority under his government.

“Before 2014, the northeast region was always at the bottom of the list of priorities. After 2014, we decided that our ministers and senior officials would tour not only the district headquarters but also the interior parts of the region,” he said.

Highlighting the efforts made in the Northeast region by the BJP-led Centre in the last 10 years, the Prime Minister said that a change in mentality took place under his tenure towards its outlook for the villages in the region.

“Our Central ministers have visited the Northeast region 680 times. I alone went more to the Northeast region, which is more than the combined trips previous Prime Ministers took. We changed the mentality. Those which were called the last villages of India we changed that and started calling them the first villages. 17 of my cabinet ministers visited there and stayed all night,” he said. (ANI)

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BJP-NDA Lok Sabha

Biggest Festival Of Democracy: Modi After ECI Announces LS Poll Schedule

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the BJP-NDA is fully prepared for the biggest festival of democracy after the Election Commission announced the schedule of 7-phase Lok Sabha polling.

PM Modi, in a series of posts on X, attacked the Opposition for practising vote bank politics and exuded confidence that people are aware of the work done by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the last 10 years and people have made the collective resolve to establish the roadmap that will guide the trajectory of the country for the next thousand years and make India the embodiment of all-around growth and global leadership.

“The biggest festival of democracy is here! EC has announced the 2024 Lok Sabha election dates. We, the BJP-NDA, are fully prepared for elections. We are going to the people on the basis of our track record of good governance and service delivery across sectors. #PhirEkBaarModiSarkar,” PM Modi posted.

Reiterating the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign mission of “PhirEkBaarModiSarkar”, Prime Minister Modi said that the BJP-led NDA is asking for votes on the basis of their performance.

Taking to his social media handle on Saturday, PM Modi posted on X, “The biggest festival of democracy is here! EC has announced the 2024 Lok Sabha election dates. We, the BJP-NDA, are fully prepared for elections. We are going to the people on the basis of our track record of good governance and service delivery across sectors.#PhirEkBaarModiSarkar.”

“Ten years ago, before we assumed office, the people of India were feeling betrayed and disillusioned thanks to INDI Alliance’s pathetic governance. No sector was left untouched from scams and policy paralysis. The world had given up on India. From there, it’s been a glorious turnaround,” read the PM’s post.

The Prime Minister further said that crores of people have been lifted out of poverty during his tenure.

“Powered by 140 crore Indians, our nation is creating new records of development. We have become the fifth largest economy and crores of people have been freed from poverty. Our schemes have reached all parts of India and the emphasis on saturation has yielded great results,” read the post.

Stating that the people of India have witnessed the benefits of a result-oriented government and therefore people are again looking forward to another term of BJP government at the Centre and joining the chorus of the party Ab Ki Baar, 400 Paar!

The PM said in a post, “The people of India are witnessing what a determined, focused and result-oriented government can do. And, they want more of it. That is why from every corner of India, cutting across all sections of society, the people are saying in one voice- Ab Ki Baar, 400 Paar!”

PM Modi then attacked the Opposition parties accusing them of practising vote bank politics.

PM Modi said, “Our Opposition is rudderless and issueless. All they can do is abuse us and practice vote bank politics. Their dynastic approach and attempts to divide society are not being accepted. Equally hurting them is their corruption track record. People don’t want such leadership.”

He said that the BJP in the last 10 years has been engaged in filing the gaps left behind by the parties who ruled the country for seven decades.

“In our third term, there’s much work to be done. The last decade was about filling gaps created by those who ruled for seventy years. It was also about instilling a spirit of self-confidence that yes, India can become prosperous and self-reliant. We will build on this spirit,” he said.

“The war against poverty and corruption will go on at an even faster pace. The emphasis on social justice will be strong. We are going to work towards making India the third-largest global economy. We will further cement our effort for fulfilling the dreams of the youth,” added the post.

Exuding confidence in the people of the country, PM Modi said that the upcoming years will help make India the embodiment of prosperity, all-around growth and global leadership.

“I can clearly see that the coming five years will be about our collective resolve to establish the roadmap that will guide our trajectory as a nation for the next thousand years and make India the embodiment of prosperity, all-around growth and global leadership,” the post said.

Adding further, PM Modi said he derived the strength to work for the welfare of the country through the blessings of the people and that this was the time to build a Viksit Bharat together.

“I derive great strength from people’s blessings, especially the poor, our farmers, Yuva and Nari Shakti. When they say ‘maiN huuN modii kaa privaar’, it fills me with joy and makes me work harder to build a Viksit Bharat. This is THE era to make it happen and together we will! yhii smy hai shii smy hai!,” the post read.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the dates for Lok Sabha and four state Assembly elections on Saturday.

The general election for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases from April 19, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar announced on Saturday. The counting will be held on June 4.

Nearly 97 crore voters will be eligible to vote for 543 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country. With the announcement of dates, the moral code of conduct comes into force immediately. (ANI)

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