Narendra Modi in conversation with Rahul Shivshankar, Editor-in-Chief and Navika Kumar, Managing Editor, Times NO

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MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be seen in the blockbuster political interview of the year with Rahul Shivshankar, Editor-in-Chief and Navika Kumar, Managing Editor, Times NOW airing tonight, at 9 PM on Times NOW. In a 75-minute compelling interview, PM Modi today speaks on a wide range of the controversies and developments that he has not yet commented upon.

Exuding confidence after two-phases of the General election, the Prime Minister said that the only challenger to ‘Narendra Modi is Narendra Modi’. The PM discounted talk that he views politics as a zero-sum game in which he believes he needs to respond to challenges from Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav or Chandrababu Naidu.

Slamming critics who question the BJP’s decision to field Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Thakur from Bhopal, PM Modi said, “The decision is a befitting reply to individuals who linked a whole religion and culture to terror.”

Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi and his claims that the Congress is reviving and ‘bharat is not ‘Congress Mukt’ the Prime Minister said, “If that was the case why is the Grand old party contesting the least number of seats this election. The reason the Congress is contesting the fewest seats is because it doesn’t have worthy candidates left to field.”

The Prime Minister sought to reach across the aisles by distinguishing the BJP from what he calls is an ‘arrogant standalone Congress’ caught in the ‘Panchmarhi Trap’. Even though the BJP is confident of securing a majority in ‘a vast nation like ours not only a majority but consensus is required’ and that he intends to take all parties along.

About the question on why the government allowed the ‘Mallyas and Choksis’ to get away, the Prime Minister hit back at his detractors and said, “When the heat got to the offenders they ran away but why aren’t the critics talking about the fact that some have lost their cases on extradition while others are rotting in jail.”

In an extremely determined re-assertion of the NDA’s zero-tolerance for terror, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized those who have been advocating a soft touch towards Jammu & Kashmir. On Rahul Gandhi’s vow to dilute the provisions of AFSPA to reduce the alienation of the people in the troubled state of J&K the Prime Minister said, “The terrorists and separatists can only be dealt with a ‘hitting touch’. The ‘healing touch’, should be reserved for the civilians of the state.”

Walking the talk with TIMES NOW’s Editor-In-Chief Rahul Shivshankar and Managing Editor Navika Kumar, the Prime Minister, for the first time, commented on why his government has nothing to be defensive about on charges that it was withholding documents from public scrutiny in the Rafale case. The PM said, “Those who have been using the ‘Defence Ministry as an ATM’ have made the corruption allegations in the Rafale deal without any basis.”

The PM also questions the intent of those who allege vendetta behind the I-T raids that have been conducted to prevent the influence of cash from vitiating the poll process. The PM asserts that the raids have all yielded proof of corruption including the siphoning of money from schemes meant for the most vulnerable sections of the society like children and expectant mothers.

Acknowledging that there has been hardship from demonetisation which he had always predicted, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he still has the public’s support for the policy and only the dishonest have created an atmosphere that it is a draconian imposition on the people. The PM said that linking the exercise to joblessness was mischievous. In a clear message to those embroiled in corruption cases the Prime Minister has vowed to take the fight to clean-up India further in his 2nd term.

Taking a slew of questions from TIMES NOW on the perceived lack of jobs the PM combatively asserted that the claims being made about rising unemployment are fake intended by a Lutyens brigade that is only looking at their narrow politically motivated self-interest.

On the question of whether the Modi Magic exists on the same scale in 2019 as witnessed in 2014 the PM said, “I am not an election rally paratrooper but has spent quality time with people on the ground 3 days every week giving me a direct exposure to the people’s mood.”

Responding for the first time to the charge that the Citizenship Bill has a communal agenda, PM Modi declares that no country is a ‘Dharamshala’ where there is no census of the actual citizens. The Prime Minister called out the duplicity of the Congress Party by reminding it of the stand taken by ‘Rahul Gandhi’s father 30 years ago in support of the NRC in the context of the Assam Accord’.

Predicting more than 282 + seats for the BJP alone the PM claims his administration in the last 5 years has not worked by giving orders from air-conditioned rooms and getting reports through ‘babus’ but has halted the night in 450 districts of India to get feedback from the ground.


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