NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the Opposition parties' charge about his government being anti-poor and pro-corporates, but conceded that the BJP was also responsible for the "anti-farmer, anti-development" land acquisition law steered hastily through Parliament by the UPA government in 2013. "A 120-year-old law was changed, but was there even a 120-hour debate on it? And it's not that the Congress alone is guilty on this count. We in BJP are also guilty as we supported it," the PM said in an interview to Dainik Jagran, stressing that it would be impossible to build irrigation projects for farmers without changing the land law.
"The elections were coming up and the Parliament session had to wind up... That's why a hasty decision was taken," the PM said, adding that all state governments later realised that the law is a "big threat (to progress)." Taking on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's jibes at his government, Modi said: "When the Opposition concludes that we are anti-poor, i just want to say that if they were such wellwishers of the poor, then why is there so much poverty in the country today? Who stopped them from alleviating poverty?"
"The Opposition has succeeded in creating a false impression that it is aimed at helping corporate houses get land. But we haven't changed a single provision for corporates from the 2013 law... I am confident we will uncover these lies and be free of such perceptions," the PM asserted about his government's move to change the law's provisions that are detrimental to farmers and development.
The PM exuded confidence about the prospects for the Bihar elections coming up later this year. "The people of the country has shown infinite faith in the BJP. We have full faith that this momentum will sustain in the coming elections also," he said. Modi termed the sense of disappointment in India Inc with his administration as 'natural' and dismissed charges that his government was unable to do much.
"We have replaced despondence not just with hope but confidence. (There is) no pressure of expectations in any way," he said, pointing to India's resurrection at the global stage and improvements in several economic parameters such as inflation, FDI inflows and power generation.