Nirav Modi fled the country after defrauding Punjab National Bank of thousands of crores, and now the Opposition is asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi questions. PM Modi, of course, said, “Na khaunga, na khane dunga (neither I will indulge in corruption, nor will I allow anybody else to do the same).”
But he didn’t address this issue: “Agar khane ke baad hajam karne ke liye koi videsh brahman pe nikal jaye toh main kya karunga (what will I do if somebody goes on a world tour to enjoy the looted public money)?”
Therefore, the Opposition should stop bombarding PM Modi with questions related to ‘little Modi’ (Ravi Shankar Prasad objected to the use of ‘chhota Modi’). Did the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) not forward the complaint about Mehul Choksi, partner of ‘little Modi’, to the Registrar of Companies (RoC)?
Then how is PM Modi responsible if the RoC didn’t take any tangible action against Choksi? Mr Modi is, after all, the Prime Minister of India; he is not expected to meticulously follow every corruption complaint that his office receives.
It’s OK for a Politician to Make ‘Empty Promises’
So what if he made the promise of “Na khaunga, na khane dunga” — it was four years ago. How can a PM remember all the promises that he made to the people during his election campaigns? Modi is not known to interfere in the day-to-day functioning of the investigative agencies of the country, and, therefore, he could not have directed them to look into the Choksi matter. Ask Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and he will attest to this fact.
We should not forget that PM Modi fulfilled his other promises made to the people during the 2014 elections. During the 2014 election campaign, Modi promised that if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) comes to power, the minimum support price (MSP) of agricultural produce would be fixed at ‘cost plus 50 percent.’ In the 2018-19 Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced his intention to fulfill the above promise.
It is a different matter altogether that this was the last full Budget before the 2019 elections. How can we know if the government was forced to announce this measure after agitation by farmers?
Also, the fact that after coming to power in 2014, the BJP-led government reneged on its promise, and submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the government cannot fix the MSP as promised before the elections, should not go against PM Modi.
PNB Fraud: Can NiMo Shake up NaMo?
Modi’s Pinstripe Suit Shows His Attention to Detail
A little deviation in the promises made to the people should not be held against PM Modi. In his televised address to the people of India on 8 November 2016, he announced that the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes would not remain legal tender after midnight. He also stated that the old notes could be exchanged only until 31 March 2017.
The government was of the view that Rs 3 to 4 lakh crore of currency in circulation would not return to the banking system, and would be seen as political victory for the government’s fight against black money. But the hopes of the government were dashed when currency notes worth Rs 15.28 trillion out of a total of Rs 15.44 trillion of demonetised notes were returned to the banking system by 10 December 2016. In order to save its face, the government extended the deadline to exchange old notes to 30 December 2016.
The Opposition should not complain against PM Modi, who pays attention to the finest of details, even if he mixed up the dates during demonetisation. After all, he did get the suit with his printed name right.
Modi’s Anti-Caste Stance: Appointing Yogi as Uttar Pradesh CM
Mr Modi, in his first Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort in August 2014, called for moratorium on communal and caste violence. He said, “Let us resolve for once in our hearts; let us put a moratorium on all such activities for 10 years. We shall march ahead to a society which will be free from all such tensions and you will see how much strength we get from peace, unity, goodwill and brotherhood. Let us experiment with it for once.”
Why did he call for moratorium on caste and communal politics for 10 years only? We have no way to read his mind, but he definitely has some plans. But still, he fulfilled his promise by appointing Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP won 325 out of 403 Assembly seats in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The most populous state in India gave Mr Modi an opportunity to select a CM who would stand for communal harmony and peace in society. He selected Yogi Adityanath as the CM, who faces charges such as promoting enmity between two religions, attempt to murder, etc.
Now, this should count as a promise fulfilled, as any accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
The same logic applies to Union Minister Uma Bharti, who faces charges of criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case; she is only an accused in a ‘minor matter’ and not a convict.
All said and done, let us leave PM Modi alone. He should not be held accountable for jumlas (rhetoric) used during the election campaign because that is what politicians (usually) do.
(The author is a pre-doctoral researcher in the University of Groningen, Netherlands. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
(The Quint, in association with BitGiving, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for an 8-month-old who was raped in Delhi on 28 January 2018. The baby girl, who we will refer to as 'Chhutki', was allegedly raped by her 28-year-old cousin when her parents were away. She has been discharged from AIIMS hospital after undergoing three surgeries, but needs more medical treatment in order to heal completely. Her parents hail from a low-income group and have stopped going to work so that they can take care of the baby. You can help cover Chhutki's medical expenses and secure her future. Every little bit counts. Click here to donate.)