With the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections 2019 scheduled to kick off on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his first election interview on Friday. In a one-on-one with Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, PM Modi shared a "fun" incident while explaining the statement: 'Analysts say that it is difficult to attack Narendra Modi because of his counter-questions'.
Remembering the time when his critics had levelled allegations that 'PM Modi has 250 pairs of clothes', he said:
"Once, in Gujarat, I had a lot of fun. An allegation was levelled against me, leaders of Congress in Gujarat levelled an allegation that Modi has 250 pairs of clothes. 250 pairs of clothes...They levelled such an allegation. They said I am a good-for-nothing person with 250 pairs of clothes. On that very day, I had a public meeting, in that public meeting I said 'today I've heard an allegation is levelled against me that I own 250 pairs of clothes. I said it's possible that they wrongly attached a zero or wrongly attached the number 2 or wrongly attached the number 5. But despite their allegation being a false one, I accepted it. I accept this allegation".
After accepting the allegation, PM Modi had put forth a counter question: "Do you want the person who made Rs 250 crore or the person who owns 250 pairs of clothes?"
"Now, I want to ask you, we've heard that some CM in this country made Rs 250 crores. Sometimes we've heard that a CM's nephew made Rs 250 crore. Sometimes we've heard that a relative of a CM made Rs 2,500 crore. Now you decide, do you want the person who made Rs 250 crore or the person who owns 250 pairs of clothes? If you think the person who has 250 pairs of clothes is a culprit then you send me packing. The entire crowd stood up. The very next day, Congress stopped making these allegations.
In the same interview, PM Modi had addressed a plethora of issues encompassing the five years of his government, including up until just two days ago when India successfully completed its Anti Satellite (A-SAT) operation codenamed 'Mission Shakti' whereby it became just the fourth country to prove this capability.
However, he also sounded off right at the start of the interview that it was the people - the voters - who must be the focal point of the elections.
"Firstly, I would like to say, the voter is always the central point of elections and the voter should always be the central focus of elections. Because elections are about fulfilling hopes and aspirations of voters. Political parties need go to voters and then people elect a government," he said before adding, "In our country, a wrong thing has happened where we are making the Prime Minister the central focus of elections. For the nation's bright future and for a healthy democracy, in elections, the greatest priority, the centre point should be the citizen."