New Delhi: In an exclusive interview with Zee 24 Ghanta titled ‘Face to Face’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke candidly about his recent ‘Modi vs Mamata’ clash in West Bengal, the BJP’s vision for the nation and how the party is preparing for 2021 West Bengal Assembly election, among other issues.

In conversation with Anirbhan Chaudhary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started by first thanking Zee News for the interview and greeted all the viewers.

One of the highlights of the interview was the Prime Minister talking about the ‘Race to PM post’. On being prodded to give away his choice of the prime ministerial candidate from the opposition camp, Modi said, “They are busy doing, ”Pehle aap, Pehle aap“… So don’t involve me into this. It is the public’s decision and whatever the mandate be it will be followed.”

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FACE-TO-FACE WITH PM MODI:

Speaking on why he conducted 17 rallies in West Bengal alone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi opined, “As a Prime Minister, I have a lot of responsibilities and it is my duty to travel to every corner of the country and interact with people everywhere. In the last five years, there has not been a single weekend when I have not stepped out to meet and hear the people.”

On the vision and agenda for the 2021 West Bengal Assembly election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that North-eastern part of India includes eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha etc, which are rich in natural resources but still the poverty there is highest. He added, “I want to judiciously use the natural resources or help make use of them so that people are pulled out poverty in these regions. Like south India has achieved economic stability… I have the same vision for the eastern part of the country.” PM Modi emphasised that the key to making India reach the third position globally in terms of wealth generation, (where it ranks sixth currently), is an integrated growth engine that binds all states. “Kolkata has the potential to be that growth engine of the economy,” PM remarked.

On the recent violent clash that ripped through north Kolkata on Tuesday during the roadshow of Amit Shah, the Prime Minister said, “Sacred of losing this election, TMC workers and the chief minister have turned on their people. It is now a fight between the government and the people. Take for example the Panchayat election, non-TMC candidates who won- their houses were torched, they were assaulted…” He remarked that the Trinamool Congress has an ‘undemocratic attitude’.

He added, “Every political party releases a poll manifesto for five years, we have divided it for 2.5 years each. By 2021, there will massive development work which will take all sectors forward together. The welfare of all, be it the elderly, men, women or children, will be given importance… everyone will be affected by it in a good way.”

“Tricolour is my inspiration”, said the Prime Minister and explained this statement. “From the saffron in the flag, I am inspired to saffronise the country or hail the ‘kesari kranti‘ in India- by saffronisation, I mean solar energy. Then comes white- by which I want to focus on milk, sugar, salt, cotton revolution in the country. Green in the flag paints a vision to work in the agriculture sector and the blue Ashoka circle for me symbolises, clean sea, environment and the welfare of fishermen.”

Evoking Mahatma Gandhi’s Trusteeship ideology, the Prime Minister reasoned his usage of term ‘Chowkidar’ during the 2014 General elections to ‘Trusteeship’. (What is Trusteeship? Trusteeship is a socio-economic philosophy that was propounded by Mahatma Gandhi. It provides a means by which the wealthy people would be the trustees of trusts that looked after the welfare of the people in general.)

Attacking West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, the Prime Minister asked Zee 24 Ghanta‘s Anirban Chaudhary to ask Didi, why did she bar Ayushman Bharat in the state? While the BJP speaks of development and welfare, what does she speak of while rallying nowadays?

The biggest question was answered in the end, when asked who the Prime Minister thinks is the frontrunner for the PM post from the Mahagathbandhan, he replied, “They are speaking in the Lucknow languaga, ‘pehle aap, pehle aap‘ and some are saying that they do not want the PM post… I can’t say this is upto the people to decide.”