Often in the line of opposition fire over his foreign trips, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India’s might was being acknowledged globally because of his numerous visits abroad.
Taking on the opposition for the criticism that he was seen more abroad than in the country during his tenure as the prime minister, Modi said, hardly five years back India found it difficult to get its voice heard, but now the world stands with it.
“I read somewhere that Didi (Mamata Banerjee) has said this chaiwala was busy making foreign trips all these five years, but today India’s might is being acknowledged everywhere because of these visits,” he said while addressing an election rally here in Birbhum district.
Taking a dig at the opposition, he said, anybody whose party is contesting even 20-25 seats, wants to become the prime minister.
“Sab ghungroo bandhke taiyar ho gaye (everybody is decked up to take the hot seat),” he said, mocking them.
He said earlier the country had to buy crude oil and gas at exorbitant prices and there used to be long-term agreements on the rates, which were renegotiated by his government through friendly discussions.
“It is because of India’s increasing might that fugitives are being brought back to the country from foreign shores to face trial, something which was unthinkable in the past,” Modi said, in an apparent reference to extradition proceedings against fugitive businessmen Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi.
He said India has entered into agreements with foreign countries for real-time information on money being deposited in their banks, making it impossible to park black money there.
The prime minister said there was “a huge storm” in the country when the UAE recently honoured him with the highest civilian award for giving “a big boost” to bilateral relations. “I told them that there will be a lot of issues in my country since the elections are approaching,” he said.
Modi said that during the visit by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, he asked for an increase in the quota of Haj pilgrims from the country by two lakh since the economic condition of Muslims in India has improved.
“This was immediately granted. I asked for increasing Haj quota by 2 lakh, they increased it,” he said.
Modi said Saudi Arabia also conceded his demand for release of 800 Indians in its prisons ahead of the holy month of Ramzan. The request, he said, was granted within 12 hours.
The prime minister said a Hindu temple is being constructed in Abu Dhabi, while in Bengal there are problems in holding Ram Navami processions or performing Saraswati puja and Durga puja.
“Didi should learn from foreigners if not from Modi,” he said.
He said it was because of the efforts of his government that “Bengal’s daughter Judith D’Souza”, who was kidnapped while working in Afghanistan, was released in order to spread the message of Jesus Christ.
“We put in all effort so secure her release and bring her back, while Didi’s only job is to bring illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and remove Modi. This is the work I do, and she (Mamata Banerjee) says I am touring foreign countries,” Modi said, claiming under him foreign exchange reserves and tourists’ footfall were at an all-time high.
He claimed the vexed border issue with Bangladesh was resolved, making the lives of lakhs of India’s citizens more secure.