Indian PM Modi addresses first press conference since 2014
May 18, 2019 | 12:26 AM
by Times News Service
Supplied photo.

New Delhi: On the eve of the seventh and final phase of voting in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended campaigning for the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by holding an impromptu press conference, his first ever since he came to power in 2014, but refused to answer any questions.

Modi turned up unexpectedly at a press conference that was scheduled by Shah and addressed the audience but redirected all questions posed to him to the BJP Chief Amit Shah citing party ethics and said that he was a “disciplined soldier of the party” and “the party president was everything to us”.

BJP President Amit Shah, who accompanied Modi at the press conference, said that Modi will not be answering any questions. Modi, however, expressed confidence that his party will be coming back to power with a majority of its own.

In his remarks, Modi said, "the election has been amazing (shandar). Elections were held in a positive spirit. A government with full majority will come back after remaining in power for five years . This is probably happening after a very long time. This is a big deal in itself.

"The public has decided on the next government. We have promised many things in our manifesto to take the country forward. As soon as possible, the new government will take charge and we will take decisions one after another.”

Shah gave a report card of the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) performance for the past five years and also asserted that BJP’s extensive electioneering campaign will help the party come to power for a second consecutive term.

He said: “BJP will have enough seats to form a government on its own. We will get more than 300 seats. This election is to choose the country’s Prime Minister. Narendra Modi will be the PM.”

Modi has been extensively criticised by the Opposition and Indian National President Rahul Gandhi for not holding a single press conference since he came to power. When a journalist posed a question regarding Modi’s unwillingness to hold a press conference, Shah responded: “It is not necessary that the PM responds to every question.”

Modi, on the other hand, said India should impress the world with its diversity and democracy.

“I believe there are some things we can be proudly tell the world. This is the world’s largest democracy, it is our responsibility to take the power of this democracy to the world. We should impress the world with the diversity of the democracy,” he said. But he refused to answer the question.

Modi described the long campaign, during which he addressed 142 rallies across the length and breadth of the country as a “thanksgiving exercise” to the people, who he said would be, after many years, voting back a government that had enjoyed a full majority.

He said there was a time when Indian Premier League had to be shifted out of India due to polls, but under the current government, Navratri, Ram Navami, Easter, Ramzan, IPL, board exams as well as elections could take place simultaneously and smoothly.

Shah then took over the reins of the press conference and proclaimed that the journey for an honest government started on May 17, 2014, five years ago, and a day after Lok Sabha election results were announced.

“Election results came on May 16, 2014 and a huge casualty took place on May 17, 2014. Today is also May 17. People in ‘Satta bazaar’ who bet for Congress to get 150 seats and for the BJP to get only around 206-10 in elections faced huge losses on May 17,” he added.

To another question, directed at Modi which was redirected to Shah, the latter said the Opposition’s efforts at meeting up before the results to explore the possibilities of government formation were a redundant exercise.

“The NDA will form the next government with a comfortable majority,” said Shah.

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