New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be viewed more as an “idea” and a “philosophy”, rather than an individual, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Friday, adding that he is “as pure as 24-karat gold”.
It would not be an overstatement to say PM Modi is the only leader after Mahatma Gandhi with a deep understanding of Indian society and its psychology, “which is based on his personal experience”, Singh said, addressing the valedictory session of a national conference organised by the Maharashtra-based think tank Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini.
The topic of the session was ‘Delivering Democracy: Reviewing Two Decades of Narendra Modi as Head of Government’ (as CM of Gujarat and then PM).
His high praise of PM Modi came two days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah called Modi India’s most successful PM since Independence.
“Friends, I believe that Modi ji should be viewed more as an idea, philosophy, than an individual. Because, in every century, certain people are born with that innate strength to transform the society with their strong determination and firm ideas,” Rajnath said.
To understand a person like Modi, he added, it is important to understand his philosophy and the philosophy-driven changes he has brought for the nation. “It is important to carry out an unbiased analysis of his work to understand him,” he said.
Rajnath said people may “level any allegations against him but they cannot question his integrity and intention”. “I can say that his integrity and intentions are as pure as 24-karat gold,” he added.
According to the defence minister, Modi has beaten the “crisis of credibility” in Indian politics, which he described as the biggest challenge before politics and politicians in Independent India.
“Due to the difference between the deeds and words of the politicians, people’s trust in them became less gradually. Modi ji accepted this crisis of credibility as a challenge and delivered. There is not one single thing he promised and didn’t deliver,” he said.
India is now playing the role of agenda setting, he added. “Today, India has positioned itself on the global high table,” he said.
Singh also said Modi gave importance to national interest over the individual. “No one wanted to stand with industrialists and businesspersons as it seemed to weaken the social commitment of the leader/government. But he accepted it as a challenge and extended support to the industrialists for the development of the country,” he added.
“When no CM including me imagined about doing such events, he held Vibrant Gujarat (the state’s big-ticket investment event). In the last 7.5 years, India’s ranking improved in ease of doing business.”
Rajnath served as Uttar Pradesh CM between 2000 and 2002.
‘Agni-V test not to scare anyone’
On the successful test of the nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile Agni-V earlier this week, which came amid India’s continuing stand-off with China, Singh said it was not to scare anyone and “only a powerful country is respected by a strong country”. “We believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family),” he added.
He also sought to draw a distinction between the erstwhile Congress-led administration’s approach to counter-terrorism and Kashmir, and that of the Modi government. The former, he said, used to adopt a soft approach and only talked about compensating victims and whether to play cricket matches with Pakistan.
Under the Modi government, he added, all this has changed as the talk is no longer about playing or not playing matches “but only about action”.
Making an indirect reference to India’s surgical strikes against terror camps, Singh said terrorism and peace talks can’t go hand-in-hand.
“The backbone of terrorism has been broken in Jammu & Kashmir. Whenever there is a need, action will be taken against terrorism even across the border,” he added.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)