‘Excuses...’: PM Modi slams Opposition's ‘no level playing field’ allegation : The Tribune India

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‘Excuses...’: PM Modi slams Opposition's ‘no level playing field’ allegation

Says Opposition is only trying to find an excuse for their impending defeat in 2024 General Election

‘Excuses...’: PM Modi slams Opposition's ‘no level playing field’ allegation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during an interview with the ANI. Photo: ANI


New Delhi, April 15

Prime Minister Narendra Modi denied the allegations by the Opposition that there is a lack of level playing field in the Lok Sabha elections and said that laws regarding the institutions were formed before his tenure, while adding that the Opposition is only trying to find an excuse for their impending defeat.

Confuting the claims of the misuse of the Enforcement Directorate, PM Modi highlighted that only 3 per cent of cases are against political people and a much higher amount of cash has been seized by the agency in the last 10 years as compared to before.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, PM Modi said, "None of the law regarding this was made by my government. Whether it is ED, CBI or Election Commission." He pointed out that the government even passed a Bill that keeps a Leader of Opposition in the three-member committee to select the three Election Commissioners.

"In fact, we have made improvements in the Election Commission. Today, if the Election Commission is formed, then the Opposition is also in it. Earlier, the Prime Minister used to sign a file and form the Election Commission. And those who were close to their families, such people became election commissioners." He said that earlier people close to the Congress Party became Election Commissioners, who were later given Rajya Sabha tickets and ministries.

"Such people became election commissioners, who after leaving from there, became members of the Rajya Sabha, became ministers of their government. Such election commissioners were chosen who became Congress candidates. And that is why we cannot play at that level," the Prime Minister added.

Taking a jibe at the Opposition, he said, "So our level play cannot happen, we cannot become like that. We want to go on the right path, we don't want to go on the wrong path." Prime Minister Modi further said that the Opposition is creating excuses and are setting a "reasoning for their impending defeat".

"There is a saying-- Naach na jaane aangan tedha (phrase literally translates to, 'A bad workman blames his tools')," PM Modi said. "That's why sometimes they come up with excuses over EVM. Basically, they have already started setting a reasoning for their impending defeat, so the loss does not come on their side." The Parliament passed the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, last December.

Under the new system, a three-member committee, comprising the Prime Minister, a Union Minister and the Leader of the Opposition selects the three Election Commissioners.

Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar were appointed the Election Commissioners under the new system last month.

Further, on being asked about the claims over Opposition leaders being jailed, the Prime Minister said, "How many Opposition leaders are in jail? Can someone tell me? And are these Opposition leaders only running their government?

"There is fear of paap (sin). What fear does an honest person have? They had put my Home Minister (Amit Shah) in jail...when I was Chief Minister," he added.

Elaborating on the investigations by the ED, Prime Minister Modi said the ED had attached property worth Rs 5,000 crore before 2014, while in the last 10 years, assets worth Rs 1 lakh crore have been attached.

"Out of all the cases the ED has registered, only 3 per cent are against political people. 97 per cent of people are those who have nothing to do with politics. They are either drug mafia or officers who are involved in corruption, against some of the officers who have created benami assets. Ninty-seven per cent of cases are against them, and they have been sent to jail," PM Modi said.

"Shouldn't we let the ED work independently when it is supposed to do so? Why was it formed? Before 2014, the ED attached only Rs 5,000 crore. Who used to stop it from taking action and who was getting benefitted? In my tenure, assets worth Rs 1 lakh crore belonging to people involved in illegal activities have been attached. Is it not the money of the people of the country?" he added.

The ED had only recovered Rs 34 lakh before 2014 while in the last 10 years, Rs 2,200 crore cash has been recovered, the Prime Minister said, while adding that his personal conviction is to fight corruption with full strength.

"Before 2014, the same ED had recovered Rs 34 lakh in cash, the money that can be kept in a school bag. In the last ten years, we have recovered Rs 2,200 crore in cash," he said.

"Rs 34 lakh can be carried in a bag while for carrying Rs 2,200 crore, 70 small trucks will be needed to keep Rs 2200 crore. It means that the ED is doing its job well. They have held people and seized cash as well. It is my commitment and I am convinced that the corruption has destroyed the country. We should fight against corruption with our full strength, and this is my personal conviction," the Prime Minster added.

The 2024 General Election will be held in seven phases, from April 19 to June 1, to elect the 543 Lok Sabha members. The results will be declared on June 4. 

#Lok Sabha #Narendra Modi

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