Addressing party workers via video chat through his personal NaMo, or Narendra Modi, app, from his official residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, the PM also seemed concerned about the opposition campaign on agrarian distress, and questions about his government’s claims on generating employment and providing jobs.
In his address, the PM asked party workers to not comment on “every socio-political or cultural matter”. With the BJP preparing for the Karnataka assembly polls, which are due on May 12, the PM advised party leaders not to blame the media afterwards for reporting catchy “masala bits” from their statements as the media was only doing its job.
“The media is doing its job, and you should do yours of serving the people. Designated spokespersons of the party will comment on issues when required. If all comment than the discourse around the issue changes, which harms the country and hurts our personal image,” the PM Narendra Modi said.
Narendra Modi said he had spoken to 8-10 BJP MPs, who were in the habit of making controversial statements, and they had changed their ways, which spared the party and government public humiliation. The PM’s advice comes in the wake of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb being ridiculed for stating that Indians had internet and satellite technology during the days of the Mahabharata.
Consistent with his government’s efforts to reach out to the poor in rural areas with its social welfare schemes, and with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the PM told party workers that gone were the days the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was considered an urban party of some upper castes.
He enthused party workers to take the party’s “gram swaraj” campaign to the villages. The campaign is being held from April 14, the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, to May 5.
Modi asked workers to make people in rural areas aware of the government’s social welfare schemes. “Earlier, the BJP was considered a north Indian party of urban areas and particular caste groups. But now the BJP is a party that embraces all sections of the society,” he said.
He said the BJP currently has the most Dalits, tribals and OBCs (other backward classes) as its legislators.
The PM noted the BJP ministers and legislators were spending nights in 20,000 villages, which are predominantly Dalit and tribal. The PM’s instructions on this had come in the wake of widespread Dalit protests in northern India against the Modi government.
Modi asked party workers to focus on reaching out to the poor, lower middle classes, farmers, mothers and youths. He asked workers to be the bridge between government machinery and village development. “Let those who want to play politics with data on jobs, but we should focus on imparting skill education to youths and develop their entrepreneurial ability,” the PM said. Modi has come in for criticism for his comments that frying pakodas, or fritters, was a job.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said over a thousand officers of the union government were currently travelling in 500 districts to spread the message of the government’s schemes. He said “LPG panchayats” were being organised and 1.1 million cooking gas connections had been distributed during the campaign. He asked party workers to spread the message of the government’s decision to increase minimum support price for the farmer, and this government’s ambitious “Modicare” health insurance scheme. The PM will address Karnataka BJP workers through the NaMo App on Thursday.