Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, speaks during a news conference at Parliament House on the opening day of the Budget Session in New Delhi. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Those Criticising Centre’s $5-Trillion Target Are Professional Pessimists: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday dismissed as "professional pessimists" the critics of the Centre's target to achieve a $5-trillion economy within the next five years and asserted that the "new India" is on the threshold of sprinting forward.

He was addressing a gathering in his Lok Sabha constituency, after launching the BJP's membership drive on the occasion of the 118th birth anniversary of party ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

"I am fully confident that as a nation, with our collective efforts, in the next five years we will definitely reach the destination of $5-trillion economy. But, some people are questioning the need for this (goal) and asking why all this is being done.

Also read: $5 Trillion Indian Economy A Challenge But Achievable, Says PM Modi

"These are people we can call 'pesheywar nirashawadi' (professional pessimists). These professional pessimists are totally different from common people. If you approach a common man with a problem, he will offer you a solution. But if you go to these people with a solution, they will convert it into a problem," he said a day after presentation of the Union budget 2019-20.

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"It is important to know about the $5-trillion economy because some people are casting doubts over the competency of Indians, saying achieving the target is very difficult," he said in his hour-long speech.

Referring to the budgetary provisions, Modi said a "new India" was on the threshold of sprinting forward and recited a few couplets in Hindi which means the challenges before one also offer immense opportunities to surmount them and everyone's contribution in the development the country will be a true gift for Mother India.

The prime minister also said, "The rich and the poor are the arms of the new India. This is the call of a transforming country. The nation has moved ahead in the past too, but now new India is ready to sprint."

"People have the power to turn the impossible into possible. Try to remember, there was a time when the country used to reel under the problem of foodgrains. The country had to import foodgrains. But, at that time (Lal Bahadur) Shastriji gave the clarion call of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, and the farmers filled the storehouses of the country with foodgrains."

Launching his party's membership drive, Modi said it will further connect people from all walks of life with the saffron party.

"From the soil of Kashi, I greet each dedicated worker of the party. Today, I got an opportunity to launch the BJP's membership campaign from Kashi," he said.

He also recited a Sanskrit couplet which means it is hardwork which eventually leads to success, and not merely the wish to do so, as a deer does not enter the mouth of a lion on its own.

"The country moves ahead on achieving targets. The need is willpower to achieve that target," Modi said, adding the strength of BJP has been its simplicity and virtue.

"These (qualities) are not compulsion for BJP workers, but a necessity for them. We have inherited these values from people like Atal ji, Advani ji, Joshi ji and many others. The main feeling underlining today's membership campaign is we should work as ambassadors of the country along with that of the party," he said.

Modi gave BJP membership cards to a few persons on the dais.

Explaining the dissimilarity between the BJP and other parties, he said, "We said saath aaye, desh banaaye (come together and build the nation). We never said come together and form government."

"This is the difference between us and others. A government is only a mechanism which is needed to build the nation... Deendayal Upadhaya was of the view that government should not merely be a group of people who have gathered for the sake of power," he said, adding that the BJP believes in 'Sarvajan Hitaaye, sarvajan Sukhaaye'.

The prime minister also said, "In our minds poverty seems to have become a virtue."

Earlier, soon after his arrival here on a day-long visit, Modi unveiled a statue of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri at the airport.

The prime minister was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BJP working president J P Nadda and the state unit chief of the saffron party Mahendra Nath Pandey.

Anil Shastri and Sunil Shastri, the sons of late Lal Bahadur Shastri, were present at the venue as also Uttar Pradesh minister Siddharth Nath Singh, a kin of the former prime minister.

This is Modi's second visit to his constituency after winning the parliamentary polls held in April-May. He had visited Varanasi on May 27 to thank the voters after winning the Lok Sabha seat for the second consecutive time by a margin of 4.79 lakh votes.

After unveiling the statue, the prime minister proceeded to launch a tree-plantation campaign -- "Anand Kanan" -- in the temple city.

Bloomberg Quint

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