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Teary-eyed Modi appeals for support from people

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of two major infrastructure projects in Goa. Photo: Atish Pomburfekar  

Four days after he announced the demonetisation of currency of denominations Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an emotional and impassioned appeal to Indians to give him 50 days to rid the country of black money. He also promised more strikes against the menace and asked countrymen to take the inconveniences of this move in their stride.

The Prime Minister returned from Japan and attended three public functions in Goa, Belgavi in Karnataka and in Pune respectively, where he appealed for support in his drive against black money and corruption.

Reflecting the amount of political capital he had invested in the move, Mr. Modi almost broke down when he reflected on his political journey: “I am not here to just occupy a chair, I left my home, I left my family to do something for the country,” he said.

Mr. Modi spoke in Goa first, after he digitally laid the foundation stone for a new greenfield airport at the Mopa plateau. He said, “I know what kind of forces and what kind of people who will be against me now. I am looting what they had accumulated over 70 years,” adding that he apprehended a threat to his life due to his strong stance against corruption. “They will not leave me alive. They will destroy me. Let them do what they want. The nation should just help me for 50 days,” he said.

He further assured the nation that the demonetisation drive was not the end of his campaign against corruption and black money.

Makes emotional pitch

Prime Minister Modi’s impassioned speech on Sunday his return from Japan points to the fact that he is determined to push through with demonetisation and is willing to invest a considerable amount of his political capital into the process. With Parliament set to meet from Wednesday, it would be interesting to see whether he is able to pull it off.

Reflecting this Mr Modi almost broke down during his speech in Goa when he reflected on his political journey: “I am doing this for the poor, toiling and honest people who are working hard to survive. So that they can get their own home, their children get good education and their parents get care,” he said.

“This is not the end. This is not a full stop, I am openly saying. There are other projects in my mind to stop dishonesty and corruption in the country. These projects are coming,” he said.

The Prime Minister wondered why people should have been surprised with the demonetisation as he has been vocal and frank about his campaign against black money and corruption in the run up to the 2014 polls and also by actions he had taken soon after coming to power.

Opposition unimpressed

The reactions to Prime Minister Modi's speech among opposition leaders was sharp. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati asked that Prime Minister Modi "stop emotionally blackmailing the people of the country." She highlighted the woes faced by the common man with the sudden withdrawal of certain currency notes.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi appeared unimpressed by Prime Minister Modi's emotional pitch. He tweeted :"First laughter (referring to PM Modi's speech in Japan where he expressed happiness at "black marketeers" standing in queues at banks) now tears. Mediocrity comes face to face with reality."

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 6:57:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/prime-minister-narendra-modis-goa-visit/article16444678.ece

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