Exercise restraint, says PM


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has exhorted BJP MPs and MLAs to associate themselves with the larger interests of the country rather than push for individual interests, and not to speak out of turn to the media on “every issue”.

Mr. Modi had a video chat with lawmakers from the party through his personal NaMo app on Sunday.

“The levers of governance should be moved for issues of larger public interest keeping the principle of Sarvajan hitaaya, sarvajan sukhaaya [that which benefits everyone will bring happiness to everyone] rather than to push individual interests. If you push individual interests, you will find the levers of governance stuck, whereas it will move for larger interests,” he said, in a significant statement to his party leaders a year before the Lok Sabha elections.

The veiled warning was accompanied by a piece of advice: party leaders should desist from commenting on “every socio-political or cultural matter”, from which the media would report the most catchy “ masala bits”, and to refrain from blaming the media later for doing so.

“The media is doing its job, you should do yours of serving the people. Designated spokespersons of the party will comment on issues as and when necessary. If everyone comments on everything, then the conversation around issues change, this harms the country and the party and hurts our own personal image. In the past few years, I saw that in the 16th Lok Sabha, there were eight to 10 MPs from our party who had this habit, but after I spoke to them they desisted from it and the party was spared any humiliation in public as a result,” he said.

Gearing up for polls

Mr. Modi’s outreach to party MPs and MLAs was in the manner of a pep talk as the party gears up for a tough electoral year, with Karnataka going to the polls in May and Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in November-December. “There are those who feel that our party came to power because of the mistakes committed by the Congress. That is not true. Our party, its leaders and workers have connected with a large swathe of the country consistently, over many years. We have broken the myths impeding our party’s expansion. We were called a ‘Brahmin-Baniya’ party, of the cities, of just North India. We have broken all those myths. We have the largest number of Dalit MPs, tribal MPs and a biggest chunk of OBC elected representatives. ,” he said.

Mr. Modi took questions from various MPs and MLAs, on various government programmes. He praised Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for the implementation of the Ujjwala Yojana to give free cooking-gas connections to BPL households and former Ahmedabad MP Harin Pathak (who was overlooked for ticket in 2014 in favour of Paresh Rawal despite being a seven-time MP) for his work in providing healthcare in Ahmedabad.

Mr. Modi will be holding a similar interaction with party workers from Karnataka on April 26.


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