Poll Bonds: Modi says those dancing now will repent

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dismissed notion that the electoral bond controversy had a negative impact on his government, emphasizing that every system has its flaws which can be rectified. He also cautioned those celebrating the issue, suggesting they will regret their actions.

Addressing questions about whether the revelation of electoral bond details posed a setback for the ruling BJP, PM Modi told Thanthi TV during an interview, “Tell me what have we done that I should see it as a setback? I firmly believe that those dancing over it (bond details) and taking pride in it are going to repent.”

Highlighting the importance of the electoral bond system implemented by his administration, the Prime Minister noted that it has enabled the tracing of funding sources and beneficiaries.

PM Modi attributed the transparency in funding to the electoral bond mechanism established during his tenure, contrasting it with the lack of clarity regarding funding sources prior to 2014 when he assumed office.

If a trail is available today, it is because of the presence of bonds, he said, asking if any agency can tell about the sources of funding and their beneficiaries for the polls before 2014, the year he came to power.

Acknowledging that no system is flawless, PM Modi stressed the need to address any shortcomings for improvement. “No system is perfect. There can be shortcomings which could be improved upon,” he said.

Opposition parties have cited the revelations following the Supreme Court order, which brought all information related to electoral bonds in public domain while terming the anonymous funding practice unconstitutional, to attack the government.

Many firms facing criminal probes have turned out to be big buyers of these bonds.

In the interview, Modi asserted that one should not see politics in everything he does, saying that he works for the country and Tamil Nadu is its big strength.

If votes were his main concern, then he would not have done so much for the northeast states, the prime minister said, noting that his government ministers have visited the region for over 150 times and he himself has gone there more times than all other prime ministers together have.

“Just because I am a politician does not mean I work only to win elections. Tamil Nadu has huge potential which must not be wasted,” he said.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance connects different sections of society and represents aspirations of people, he said, adding that the votes it will received in Tamil Nadu will not be anti-DMK but pro-BJP.

He said, “People have witnessed the works we have done over the past 10 years. Tamil Nadu has decided that this time it will be the BJP-NDA.”

The BJP worked for Tamil Nadu even when it did not have a single municipal candidate there, he said.

Modi also praised Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai, saying he is attracting the youth. They think if money and corruption were the motivations for him, then he could have joined the DMK, the prime minister said.

“Viksit Bharat means that every corner of the country should be a recipient of development. I believe that Tamil Nadu has the potential to become the driving force behind our dream of a Viksit Bharat,” he said.

Modi regretted the politicisation of Tamil language, a swipe at opposition parties which have often accused the BJP of undermining regional languages, and said as the state’s cuisine has been globalised, its dialect should be similarly promoted.

“The politicisation of the Tamil language has been detrimental not only to Tamil Nadu but also to the country,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

Roy Walsh

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