NEW DELHI: Attacking the Congress indirectly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it is in the interest of democracy and the country that political parties develop with true democratic spirit.
Participating at the annual Diwali Milan programme at the BJP central office in New Delhi, he said people of the country were not very familiar with several aspects of the working of political parties, including their internal democratic processes, decision-making and organisational structure and called upon the media to initiate a debate.
“Sometimes, I feel that in our country, democracy in political parties, their internal structures, decision-making, the country is not so familiar with it. I feel you friends will someday study and bring out what is the structure of a party, how leadership flourishes, how the new generation gets opportunity, are democratic values part of its core values? This should be a topic of wide debate in the country because the quality of democracy depends on that of political parties,” the PM said.
Though he did not mention the party, his attack was on the Congress which he and the BJP have repeatedly accused of being “dynastic” and “undemocratic”, saying that a member of Nehru-Gandhi family normally occupies its top post.
“Political parties should develop in true democratic spirit, this is very important for the country’s future,” PM Modi said.
A large number of media persons from print, audio-visual and digital media were present at the event. After his speech, PM Modi spent time meeting the journalists, posing as some took selfies with him.
The event was attended by BJP chief Amit Shah, and Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Several party leaders were also present.
PM Modi, in his speech, also urged the media to talk about the way values and ideology is imparted in political parties and said there were shortcomings such as parties not speaking “in one wavelength from top to the bottom”.
Recalling the past when BJP, from top to the bottom, spoke in one voice, he said: “Today we listen to several voices in our political party”.”
Stressing the inter-dependent relationship between politicians and the media, he said that “there have been expectations on both sides as also complaints”.
“This is a professional hazard. We have to move forward meeting each other and with smiles,” the PM said.
Noting the rapid expansion of the media, he said earlier there were a few journalists and one could manage knowing “five-seven” prominent media personalities.
“Now there are so many mediums. It is a challenge for us also that in this rapidly expanding scenario, how should be our communication, how should we interact, how to sustain and expand an open atmosphere. The problem is not in intention but there are practical problems,” he said.
PM Modi referred to the time he spent as a BJP office-bearer in the party’s central office and said there were many people in the gathering who can tell him that he does not meet them now.
“That was an enjoyable atmosphere and we talked a lot. But it has become difficult now,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that informal interactions with the media were useful as media persons often convey about the shortcomings and bottlenecks in various programmes due to their wide exposure.
However, he said in a lighter vein that there are those “who inject” and it is the duty of politicians to find that out, but added: “My experience is that this informal interaction is fruitful.”
PM Modi also lauded the media for its role in carrying forward the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, saying this will help in achieving the targets early.
“Half of the newspaper pages would be filled with the government’s criticism. But when it comes to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, all are on the same page. I thank each one of you for making it a personal mission,” he said.