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'I am not against minorities but won't divide the country based on religion': PM Modi
LS polls
Videograb of PM Modi's interview/ courtesy: YouTube

'I am not against minorities but won't divide the country based on religion': PM Modi

| @indiablooms | 28 May 2024, 10:54 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Ahead of the final phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence in securing a thumping majority for a third term, asserted his commitment to returning the money "looted" from Bengal and emphasised his stance against reservation based on religion.

In an interview with ABP Ananda, PM Modi said: "I will return the money looted from Bengal. There is an official rate card in Bengal for teacher recruitment through corruption. They are scientifically doing this."

"I am discussing this with the legal department to find a route to return the money to the poor and will implement it in July. There is a scam of Rs.3000 crore. This is people's money and it will be returned to the people."

Reflecting on the anti-corruption efforts of his government, PM Modi stated, "Irrespective of any political party and ideology, small fish got caught while big sharks escaped earlier."

He expressed surprise at being questioned about targeting the big fish, emphasising that the public should applaud the efforts of agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for their work.

Highlighting the scale of corruption unearthed during his tenure, PM Modi remarked, "Mountains of currency notes are being displayed in front of the camera, how can we deny it?"

Asserting his commitment to accountability and justice, he declared: "Now the country is watching. You cannot deny that wrong has been done. Big names are behind bars... whether I know or not, those who have committed sins will face consequences."

He revealed that from 2004 to 2014, the ED seized Rs 34 lakh, while from 2014 to 2024, Rs 2,200 crore had been seized. PM Modi underscored the significance of these revelations and urged the public not to turn a blind eye to corruption.

While the elections were the primary focus, PM Modi also discussed his management style, his team, and the Opposition.

On being asked about the Calcutta High Court cancelling all Other Backward Classes (OBC) certificates issued in West Bengal after 2010 and Mamata Banerjee denying to accept the order, PM Modi said: "I think this is an insult to the court to say that it is BJP's verdict. I am not against minorities but I follow the Constitution which states there should not be any reservation based on religion."

"I believe reservation should be based on needs otherwise it would be an insult to the Constitution. I fought for the 10 pct reservation for the poor, who do not avail of any other scheme. I don't believe in dividing the country based on religion. Why should we create a divide based on religion just for vote bank politics? We are not opposed to Muslims, Christians or any other minorities," the prime minister said.

This comes after the Calcutta High Court termed the OBC list prepared after 2010 'illegal'.

In Images: PM Modi’s roadshow in Kolkata

PM Modi also expressed his views on Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's attacks on Kartik Maharaj, a monk in the charitable organisation Bharat Sevashram Sangha, whom she accused of acting against the ruling TMC during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

"This is democracy and everyone is entitled to their opinions. Everyone from every section of the society can express their viewpoints. Elections are platforms for the exchange of views and opinions," he said.

In protest against Mamata Banerjee's remarks slamming Kartik Maharaj, several sadhus hit the streets of Kolkata last Friday. The monks were seen chanting slogans to remove Mamata as the chief minister of the state. Kartik Maharaj also walked in the protest rally.

The last phase of Lok Sabha elections will be held on June 1 and counting of votes will be done on June 4.

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