No fear in being seen with industrialists: Narendra Modi

PM rebuts allegations of crony capitalism, says his conscience is clear

July 29, 2018 11:04 pm | Updated July 30, 2018 09:44 am IST - LUCKNOW

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing at a function to celebrate 3rd Anniversary of Amrut, Smart Cities Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban) during his first day of two-day visit to Lucknow on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing at a function to celebrate 3rd Anniversary of Amrut, Smart Cities Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban) during his first day of two-day visit to Lucknow on Saturday.

Targeted by the Opposition for his alleged proximity to controversial and corrupt businessmen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asserted that he was not scared of being seen publicly with industrialists as his conscience and intent were clean.

Without mentioning names, Mr. Modi targeted the Opposition saying that unlike him, they engaged with industrialists behind the scenes but publicly distanced themselves.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for 81 projects worth over ₹60,000 crore across Uttar Pradesh, Mr Modi said, “We are not those people who are scared of standing next to industrialists. But some people you must have noticed, you can’t find a single photograph of them with any industrialist. There is not a single industrialist in the country who has not gone to their homes and not done sashwat pranaam (paying deferential respects).”

“Don’t we know in whose aircraft they fly?” he asked.

“Those with “ saaf neeyat aur irade nek” (clear conscience and good intent) don’t get blemished by standing next to anyone,” the Prime Minister added.

Top industrialists and investors, including Gautam Adani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Sanjeev Puri and Subhash Chandra were present at the felicitation event organised after the U.P. Investors Summit 2018 held in February.

Example of Gandhiji

Mr. Modi then cited the example of Mahatma Gandhi who had stayed in the house of leading industrialists, the Birlas, despite his “pure life.” Mr. Modi said Gandhiji “never hesitated in standing next to Birlaji” as “his conscience was clear.”

Mr. Modi also praised the role of industrialists in nation-building and asked if it was proper to “shame them” and “call them chor aur lootera (thieves).”

However, he said if they [industrialists] are caught in any wrong doing, they would either have to leave the country or go to jail.

Will punish wrong doers

Targeting the previous Congress governments, he said wrongdoers would not get punished earlier “as a lot would happen behind the scenes.”

Mr. Modi also praised the Yogi Adityanath government for accelerating development in U.P. and creating a hospitable environment for investment. “There was a time when people considered investment in U.P. a challenge. Today that challenge has turned into an opportunity,” Mr. Modi said.

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