Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that he is often painted as one who doesn't listen and only talks down.
In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18, the Prime Minister spoke to Rahul Joshi, group editor of Network18 on his duties and responsibilities and made it amply clear that he won't shy away from taking strong decisions for the country's sake. Edited excerpts:
Mr Prime Minister, it's being said that Lutyens Delhi did not like you, but have you started liking Delhi?
As you know the position of Prime Minister is such that there's no question of liking or disliking Luteyns Delhi. But there is a need to deliberate on this. In Delhi's power corridors there's an active group of people which is dedicated to only a few. It could be because of their own reasons or personal gains. It's not a question of Modi. Look back at history, what happened with Sardar Patel. This group presented Sardar Patel as a simple person from a village with simple intellect. Look at what happened to Morarji Desai. This same group never talked about his abilities, achievements. It always talked about what he drank. What happened with Deve Gowda? A farmer's son became the PM yet they said he only sleeps. And what happened with the supremely talented Ambedkar who are praising today. They made fun of him. What happened with Chaudhury Charan Singh? They again made fun of him. So I'm not surprised when they make fun of him. These "custodians" who are dedicated to a select few will never accept anyone who is linked to the roots of this country. So I too do not want to waste my time addressing to this group. The welfare of the billion people is my biggest task and I will not lose anything if I do not associate myself with the Lutyens Delhi. It's better if I live with the poor people of this country who are like me.
It's being talked about in media circles that if TRP rating are down then cut to Modi rallies, still you have a bitter-sweet relationship with media. Yes sometimes but no most of the times. What do you have to say about media?
Media has major contributions towards whatever I'm today. Yes, I don't give soundbytes here and there. Media may complain that Modiji doesn't make spicy, controversial remarks. This is a genuine complains. I'm mostly involved in my work and my work speaks. For a long time I was involved with organisational work. So I have strong friendly association with the media world. There is not a media personality with whom I haven't had tea and not had fun. I know many of them by their names. So the expectations are natural. Mostly media has seen big personalities becoming PM, not someone like me who have spent time among them as a friend.
Media is doing its job and it should. I believe, media must strongly criticise government's work. Otherwise democracy won't work. But unfortunately, in this TRP rat race, media doesn't have enough time for research. Criticism is not possible without research. For 10 minutes of criticism you meed 10 hours if research. Instead of criticism it gets into levelling allegations. As a result democracy gets weakened. Government must be afraid of media criticisms bu that's fast going away. I want media to be very critical based on facts. The country will benefit from this. It's right that media has its compulsions. It has to win the TRP race. So I'm glad that at least I'm useful to them this way. More than my rallies, to win TRP they get people to abuse me.
Like media you seem to have a strained relationship with the judiciary. Why?
This is a totally wrong perception. This government goes by rules, law and the Constitution. There is no scope for any confrontation or tension with any constitutional institution. There must be as much warmth with judiciary as needed for constitutional decorum. I try my best to maintain as much decorum as possible.
Thank you for giving us so much time. I would like to ask you few some personal questions. We got a strong leader in you. But couple of times your emotional side came out. People would like to know what kind of human being you are. Viewers would like to know what is the real Narendra Modi like? Or there are many layers to Modi's character.
A soldier at border who bravely fights on and the same soldier when he plays with his daughter cannot behave in the same manner. Narendra Modi whatever he is, after all a human being. Why should I suppress or hide what's inside me. I'm what I am. Let people see what they see. As far as my duties and responsibilities are concerned, I have to fulfill them with the best of my abilities. If I have to take strong decisions for the country's sake then I will have to make those decisions. If I have to work hard for that then I will have to. If I have to bend I'll bend. If I have to walk fast then I'll walk fast. But these are not facets of my character, these are part of my responsibilities. There is nothing like real or fake Modi. Human being is a human being. If you take off your political glasses, then you will see the real Modi. But you will do a mistake if you continue to judge Modi through your perceived notions.
Modiji, I have met you many times in Gandhinagar when you were CM and even in PMO. I have never seen any file, paper or even phone on your table. No one ever intervened during our meetings. You function like a CEO. Some say you hear more and speak less. What's your working style.
You have made right observations. I have been painted as one who doesn't listen and only talks down. I actually hear a lot and observe a lot, that's I have evolved as a person. I have benefitted a lot through this. I'm a workaholic but basically I always like to live in the present. If you have come to meet me then I get immersed in that meeting. I don't touch the phone or see the paper and I don't lose focus. When I see files similarly get immersed and get lost in those files. Ditto my tours. I live every moment in my present. The person who meets me is always satisfied that I have given him quality time.
Secondly, one must give justice to one's work, I have always tried that. One must always learn and understand. One must have the courage to leave those ideas that were relevant five years back and not now. One must have the courage the change oneself. This is my style of functioning.