Speaking to news agency ANI in an interview on the eve of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 9 February, said: “The BJP began winning after losing again and again.”
He also unleashed a slew of attacks on the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bharatiya Janata Party's key rival in the upcoming elections in the state.
Further, PM Modi spoke about Rahul Gandhi, the three contentious farm laws (since repealed), as well as made a remark in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri incident — in which four farmers were killed after being allegedly mowed down by a BJP minister's son — for what is being reported as the first time in four months.
“When we win, we try to connect to grassroots and leave no stone unturned in winning hearts. We look for hope even in loss. For us, polls are like open universities with opportunities for new recruitments and to polish ourselves.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Further, Modi alleged that parties like the Samajwadi Party were concerned with “parivarvad” (dynastic politics).
"I received letter — I don't remember from who — that 45 people from SP hold some post. This dynasticism is threat to democracy," PM Modi told ANI.
In response to a question about the uneven playing ground and absence of a level-playing field in UP (Akhilesh and Jayant vs Modi and Yogi and the whole state machinery behind them), he said:
"We saw game of 'two boys' earlier too. They had such arrogance that they used the words 'Gujarat ke do gadhe'. UP taught them a lesson. Another time there were 'two boys' & a 'bua ji' with them. Still, it didn't work out for them..."
Stating that his a government's job is to "think about food for the poor, make houses and toilets for them, get them clean drinking water, make health facilities available to them, make roads, (and) to think about the small farmers," Modi further said:
"...And that is my priority. If somebody calls this socialism, I accept it. When I talk of fake socialism, it's about dynasty. Can you see Lohia ji's, George Fernandes', Nitish Kumar's families? They're socialists."
'How Do I Reply to a Person Who Doesn't Listen': PM Modi on Rahul Gandhi
In response to Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi’s attack on his government for not issuing a clarification on issues like the India-China border dispute and rising unemployment in Parliament, PM Modi accused Rahul Gandhi of not sitting in the house and listening.
"I have given facts on every subject and spoken on every subject on the basis of facts. On some subjects, our external affairs ministry and defence ministry have given detailed answers and wherever it was necessary, I had also spoken.”
“How do I reply to a person who does not listen, and does not sit in the House?” he asked.
Referring to his remarks in the parliament on Jawaharlal Nehru, he said: "I never commented on anyone’s parent or grandparent. I just said what a PM had said about the situation at that time...Besides people complain that I don't talk about Nehru enough. So I did."
On COVID and Migrant Workers
Speaking on the nationwide lockdown during the first COVID-19 wave, Modi said, “At the time of the COVID epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) had said that one should stay where they are. Also, at that time, no one had any idea of the shape and form COVID-19 would take. Amid the chaos, states had started imposing lockdowns."
He added that one after another state was followed imposing lockdowns, which is why "a need arose to do something nationally.”
Repeating the statement from his Lok Sabha speech, Modi said, “The Congress motivated people to leave by giving tickets to them. Although they gave tickets to merely 500-1,000 people, they created an atmosphere that one should leave immediately.”
He added that the mass exodus of migrant workers could have been handled better if panic had not been created and migrants were given two to four more days.
Further, Modi said, "Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was forced to send thousands of buses to control the situation and ferry the migrant workers home."
'Farm Laws: Brought in Interest of Farmers, Repealed in Interest of People'
In reference to the farm-laws, which were repealed amid widespread protests by farmers, the Prime Minister said that “they were brought in the benefit of farmers, but withdrawn in the interest of the people.”
Further PM Modi claimed that he had always worked for the benefit of farmers, and they too have, in turn, always supported him.
'State Govt Working Transparently': On Lakhimpur Kheri
Speaking for what is said to be the first time on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident – in which four farmers were killed after being allegedly mowed down by Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni's son – PM Modi said:
"The state government gave its consent for whatever committee the Supreme Court wanted, for whichever judge the Supreme Court wanted for the probe. The state government is working transparently.”
His remarks came four months after the incident took place and in response to a question about the opposition’s allegations about the BJP protecting their own, even in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
Teni’s son Ashish Mishra is believed to have been driving the SUV that ran over farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, protesting the three contentious farm laws.
Modi’s remarks come a day before the state of Uttar Pradesh is slated to go to polls. Poling is slated to take place in seven phases in UP, with the results being declared on 10 March.
Earlier, on Wednesday evening, Modi had taken to Twitter to request his followers to watch his interview at 8 pm.
(With inputs from ANI.)