Millennium Post

2019 elections will be janta vs gathbandhan: PM Modi

New Delhi: The coming national elections will be a contest between the people and the anti-BJP alliance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in one of his rare interviews given to news agency ANI on New Year's day. Brushing away questions raised about the party's prospects following the setback in the assembly elections in the three heartland states, he said these were a "set of persons" who echoed a similar narrative even in 2014.

"People will decide if they want to support those who loot even if they come together. It will be janta vs gathbandhan," PM Modi said.

About the party's performance in the recent round of elections, the Prime Minister said, "First of all, no one expected BJP to form a government in Telangana and Mizoram... In Chhattisgarh, the results were decisive, but in other two states, the result was a hung assembly".

But for the national elections, he said he had faith in the country's voters.

On the Ram temple ordinance, Modi made it clear that any decision can be considered only after the judicial process is over.

Modi said demonetisation wasn't a "jhatka". We had warned people a year before, that if you have such wealth (black money), you can deposit it, pay penalties and you will be helped out. However, they thought Modi too would behave like others, so very few came forward voluntarily.

On Urjit Patel's resignation as RBI governor, he said that Patel requested (to resign) on personal reasons. I am revealing for the first time; he was telling me about it for the past 6-7 months before his resignation. He gave it even in writing. There is no question of political pressure. He did a good job as RBI governor.

On GST, the government is in favour of bringing construction-related material in the 5 per cent slab of GST, Modi said that changes in the tax structure would continue as there is scope for improvement.

Amidst criticism that the surgical strike failed to check Pakistan's support for terrorism, the Prime Minister asserted that it would be a "big mistake" to think that Pakistan will mend its ways after just "one war".

Rejecting opposition charges that his government was anti-farmer, the Prime Minister said, "there is a small segment of farmers who take loans from banks. A majority of them take loans from money lenders. When governments make such announcements, those farmers do not become beneficiaries of waivers. The farmers who are dying are out of the purview of such schemes."

While Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala termed it as, "bereft of ground reality, 'Jumlas' (rhetoric) galore, Modiji's interview looks like a parody", his party colleague and former Union minister Anand Sharma alleged that it was "fixed". With PTI/ANI inputs

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