Paris: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the resounding mandate to the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls was for building a new India and asserted that corruption, nepotism, the loot of people’s money, and terrorism have been reined in like never before.
Addressing the Indian community at the UNESCO headquarters here, Modi talked also about “major decisions” such as banning of the practice of triple talaq, taken by his government in its second term.
In a veiled reference to abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said, “There is no scope for temporary in India. You would have seen that a country of 1.25 billion people, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha, Rama, Krishna, took 70 years to remove what was temporary. To remove what was temporary, it took 70 years! I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry. Reform, perform and transform! With permanent systems, the country is moving forward to achieve its goal.”
Modi, who was in France on the first leg of his three-nation tour, said there have been a number of constructive changes in the last five years. “India is racing ahead not because of Modi; it is because of the stamp of approval that the people of India have given in the form of their votes,” the prime minister said amid loud cheering of Modi hai to mumkin hai (it is possible with Modi at the helm) from the crowd.
The prime minister asserted that “in ‘new India’, corruption, nepotism, dynasty, the loot of people’s money and terrorism have been reined in like never before”. He cited quite a few cases of corruption without naming those involved in support of his assertion.
Modi’s comments on corruption assume significance as they come two days after the high-profile arrest of senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram by the CBI in a money laundering case, evoking a strong reaction from the Congress and other UPA constituents which accused the Centre of misusing probe agencies for “political vendetta”, overlooking the fact that allegations of corruption had brought their government down.
On the move of doing away with the practice of triple talaq, Modi said how could a ‘new India’ accept such injustice to Muslim women. “Inspired by the mantra of clear policy and right direction, one after another several major decisions have been taken by the government,” he said.
Modi asserted that India had embarked upon a journey of hope and aspirations, and with the collective efforts of 130 crore people, the country is moving ahead at a fast pace on the path of development. “This is the reason that people have again given us a resounding mandate. This mandate is not just to run the government, but it is for building a new India. A new India of whose enriched culture, the world is proud of. A new India with a focus on ease of doing business and also ensures ease of living,” the prime minister said.
“The 100-day milestone is yet to arrive. Mind you, the first 50-75 days are generally taken to plan things and get greetings and congratulatory calls, but we did not get into that,” Modi asserted.
Modi said India would achieve most of the COP21 climate change goals set for 2030, in the next year and a half. India would be free of tuberculosis in 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030, he said.
Ahead of his address, the prime minister, through video conferencing, inaugurated a memorial in honour of the victims of two Air India crashes in France in the 1950s and 1960s.
In his speech, Modi listed also a slew of measures taken by his government for development and empowerment of the people such as the opening of bank accounts and the running of the “world’s biggest health insurance scheme”. “In the last five years, we have red carded a number of bad practices from the country,” he said while using a football analogy.
Modi talked also about his government’s achievements such as forming of the Jal Shakti Ministry, pension for poor farmers and traders and doing away of the “inhumane practice” of triple talaq. He said that the recently-concluded Parliament session was the most productive in the last six decades.
Modi also hailed the Indo-French strategic relations and partnership. “We have fought fascism and extremism not only in India but also in France,” he said.
“Friendship between India and France is based on strong ideals. The character of both nations was built on the common values of liberty, equality and fraternity,” the prime minister said. “If today, France and India are closely cooperating in fighting the big dangers facing the world such as terrorism and climate change, the reason is these common ideals,” he said.
“India and France have a distinct characteristic that they face challenges by taking strong action,” Modi said. There was a lot of talk about dangers of climate change but no action was evident, he said, adding that it was India and France which took the decisive step of forming the International Solar Alliance.
To underline the close strategic partnership between India and France, Modi said a lot is being discussed about ‘INFRA’ which can be taken as ‘In plus Fra’ — the alliance of India and France. “From solar infra to social infra, from technical infra to space infra, from digital infra to defence infra, the India-France alliance is moving forward strongly,” he asserted.