Ahmedabad: The world is “ready to be led” by Narendra Modi and India, Union Minister Jitendra Singh has said.
In an interview with ThePrint, he remarked that there is no better choice than the prime minister — who he described as the “best” and “most popular leader” — to lead the world in this time of crisis.
“At a time when global economy is stunned…robberies have started to happen in England because of so much ghurbat (poverty). In that backdrop, after Covid, the manner in which Modi ji managed a country of 135 crore, this became an example for the world,” said Singh, who is minister of state (independent charge) for science and technology as well as for earth science.
He went on to say that the next 25 years are important for India. “The world is ready to be led (by Modi and India). We have to prepare ourselves to lead. With the exception of Modi ji, they (world leaders) don’t think there is any other alternative on the international stage. But we have a programme to ramp up that kind of capacity-building.”
The BJP leader also spoke at length about his party’s ‘Gaurav Yatra’ in Gujarat — which ended Friday — and why he believes voters in the poll-bound state will remain loyal to Modi.
“There is no other player in Gujarat. It is a foregone conclusion. People will vote for Modi. Our target is not just votes, but to maintain our connection with the masses,” he said when asked about anti-incumbency in the state where BJP has been in power for 27 years.
Singh, 65, added that while the Union government is “determined” to hold free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir, some with “vested interests” are opposed to it.
Also Read: Former Modi critic turned V-P of Gujarat BJP — who is Gordhan Zadafia, man behind Gaurav Yatra
On Gaurav Yatra in Gujarat
Asked about the BJP’s five-legged Gaurav Yatra in poll-bound Gujarat, Singh said it was not just about the upcoming assembly elections. “This is our (BJP’s) culture. Our party is a 24/7-365 (day) party. Our cadres are so trained that even if you wake one of our workers up and tell them to head for campaigning, they will pick up the flag and get to it.”
He added that all party workers — from cadres to the PM — work to ensure the success of a campaign, regardless of whether it is for a local body poll or an assembly or parliamentary election.
The aim of the Gaurav Yatra, Singh said, was to highlight the development Gujarat saw during Modi’s tenure (2001-2014) as chief minister. “Every other state follows the Gujarat model. It’s not just about the gaurav (pride) of Gujarat but of the whole country.”
Talking about the Narmada project, he said: “Normally, a politician is convinced of any project only after people demand it, but he (Modi) started a new culture of policymakers studying an issue and framing policy even before people make demands.”
On whether Gujarat has now become the laboratory for ‘Moditva’ after ‘Hindutva’, Singh remarked: “Gujarat has always seen development in an environment of nationalism.”
The state, he added, is also the “preferred destination of business houses”.
“Modi established a work culture in Gujarat. Any historian looking at why Gujarat is the preferred destination for investment will find that Modi changed the culture of regulation where getting an NOC (no-objection certificate) would cover the span of one’s life.
“After he came to power at the Centre, Modi ji wound up more than 1,500 old rules over the last 7-8 years that were acting as obstacles for the business community,” the minister said.
On elections in J&K
Asked about the killing of a 48-year-old Kashmiri Pandit in Shopian earlier this month and whether it was meant to derail elections to be held in the Union territory, Singh, who hails from Jammu, said that “a few elements in Kashmir do not want peace”.
“They fought election under garb of violence in the last 20-30 years when voter turnout was only 10-12 per cent. They became MPs and MLAs with 10 per cent vote. I said in Parliament once that we will have to bring a Bill to fix the minimum threshold of voting percentage. It is absurd if someone becomes an MP with 10 per cent of the vote in a Lok Sabha constituency with 20 lakh voters. It means the people did not get representation.”
He added that “three generations” of some political families ruled J&K for decades, and they that think if free and fair elections happen, people will vote en masse and other leaders will challenge their grip on the electorate.
On Bilkis Bano convicts
Asked about laws related to remission in the context of the release of 11 men convicted in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gangrape case, Singh refused to wade into the debate and said an “expert in the subject” would be best suited to answer the question. “Whatever is necessary, efforts are underway to analyse it and formulate a view on the subject.”
He added that the home ministry concurred with the view of the Gujarat government that the 11 convicts serving life sentences be granted an early release “after considering all assessments”.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
Also Read: Why two key ‘cow constituencies’ are locking horns with BJP govt in poll-bound Gujarat