Responding to the controversial article in a foreign publication titled 'Can the World's Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?' which labels India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as 'Divider-in-Chief', PM Modi on Friday has said that people who do not know about India's speciality in banding together when in need should not try to trample this unity.
While speaking to Republic Media Network's Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor in his final interview of the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign, PM Modi also observed that the author of the article - an Aatish Taseer - is related to a Pakistani political family:
"TIME magazine which is a foreign publication featured this author who has himself declared that he is related to a Pakistani political family. These two facts are more than enough to say about his credibility. India's internal unity is unique," he said.
(TIME magazine videshi hai aur likhne vaale mahashay ne bhi kaha hai ki wo Pakistan rajneeti parivaar se aate hai. Ye do chheze kaafi hai unki credibility ke liye. Bharat ki aantarik taakat badi gajab hai)
Listing various natural calamities for which the nation banded together to help those in distress, he added that those unaware of such things should refrain from dividing the nation.
"Today also when a cricketer plays well the entire nation cheers in one voice. Now when there was cyclone in Odisha, then the entire nation came together to help. Similarly, when there was an earthquake in Srinagar, the entire nation reached to help. When devotees on Amarnath Yatra were fired on, Srinagar's Muslims reached to donate blood. This is our nation's specialty. I request those who do not realise this specialty of my nation to stop trampling its unity," he added.
(Aaj bhi Cricket ka ek navjawan khelta hai to poora desh khada hot hai. Abhi jab Odisha mein cyclone aaya tha to poora desh aa gaya madat ke liye. Srinagar ke bhookamp ke liye bhi poora desh pohonch gaya tha. Jab Amarnath yatra ke logon par goli chali thi tab Srinagar ke saare musalman blood donation ke liye khade ho gaye the. Ye mere desh ki visheshta hai. Kripa karke mere desh ki visheshta ko jo jante nahi hai, use kuchalne ka prayas na kare.)
This interview is the Prime Minister's last interview before the country goes to polls in the final leg of elections on Sunday. Notably, the Prime Minister kicked off his Lok Sabha election campaign with an interview to Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on March 29, 2019.
Earlier on May 9, Taseer who is the son of veteran journalist Tavleen Singh and Pakistan's Punjab's former Governor late Salmaan Taseer had written the cover story for the US-based weekly news magazine which is a critique of India's current political scenario. While the article comments on the Modi wave which engulfed the nation in 2014, it states that "If in 2014 he (Modi) was able to exploit differences in order to create a climate of hope, in 2019 he is asking people to stave off their desperation by living for their differences alone."
The article also comments on the lack of unity in the Opposition saying, "Modi is lucky to be blessed with so weak an opposition - a ragtag coalition of parties, led by the Congress, with no agenda other than to defeat him."