Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is all set to return to power after the general elections in 2024 for the third time in a row riding on its people-centric policies, said Ramdas Bandu Athawale, MP from Rajya Sabha and a prominent leader from Maharashtra.
Modi has been able to provide a corruption-free federal Government since 2014 while taking along alliance partners such as the Republican Party of India of Ramdas Athawale.
“Modi has taken along all the alliance partners despite his party having absolute majority in the Lok Sabha,” said Athawale in an exclusive interview.
Athawale said the Prime Minister Modi-led Government has upheld the spirit of ‘Sab Ka Saath Sab ka Vikas’ in the true sense. “We expect the NDA to return to power with around 350 seats because the Alliance pursued people-centric policies,” Athawale said.
Athawale said Modi came to power for the first time in 2014 with a promise for a corruption-free India as the country then was reeling under various scams related to the 2G spectrum, coal and Commonwealth Games.
“Indian voters will be with the Modi-led alliance in the next general election,” Athawale said.
Modi delivered on his promise of a corruption-free Government, Athawale said and added opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi of the Congress party had failed to prove allegations in the case of the Rafale fighter aircraft deal with France.
“How can you expect Modi, who had come to power on the agenda of corruption-free governance, would indulge in the same,” Athawale said.
Athawale highlighted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been increasing its tally in the Lok Sabha during the last four decades.
He said the BJP raised its poll tally from just two seats in 1984 to 182 under the leadership of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and subsequently to 282 seats in 2014 to 303 seats in 2019 under Modi’s stewardship. The BJP always roped in its alliance partners over the years despite the party progressively reaching a stage where it could form the federal government of its strength like the previous two occasions under Modi, Athawale said.
Athawale, a senior political leader of Maharashtra, said NDA would bag at least 40 seats from the western state in the next general elections in 2024. “The genuine fraction of Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is with NDA as has been recognised by the Election Commission of India,” he said.
Athawale said that Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena strengthened the NDA even though people are still with the faction led by Udhav Thackeray.
Athawale said the joining of Ajit Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party with 40 MLAs has strengthened the ruling NDA Government in Maharashtra. In the last general elections in 2019, BJP bagged 24 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra while Shiv Sena got 18 seats.
Athawale termed the opposition block I.N.D.I Alliance as an outdated alliance that is engaged to spread false propaganda against the Modi-led NDA.
Athawale said the I.N.D.I Alliance means Introduction to a Negative Outdated Alliance. “The election results in 2024 would be the same as 2019 with a repetition of the NDA Government under Modi,” he said.
NDA’s bright spots
Athawale said the conversion of single-lane highways to four and six lanes under the able leadership of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Ayushman Bharat digital health schemes for financially disadvantaged populations and rural development work rank top among the list of achievements of the Modi-led NDA Government since 2014.
He termed the opening of bank accounts, cemented houses with toilet facilities for four crore economically poor population and medical assistance up to Rupees five lakhs per family to be major highlights of the ruling Alliance under Modi.
Baba Saheb’s legacy
Athawale, also the union minister of social justice and empowerment, said due recognition to Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, has been one of the striking achievements of the Modi-led NDA Government.
The NDA Government has tried to immortalise Baba Saheb’s legacy by dedicating the Dr Ambedkar International Centre at the heart of Delhi’s Janpath Road, besides preserving the house in the capital where Baba Saheb drafted the Constitution as a National Memorial.
The NDA Government will unveil an iconic 450-foot statue of Baba Saheb Ambedkar for Rs 1,100-1,200 crore spread over 12.5 acres of land valued at around Rs 3,600 crore in Mumbai.
“The upcoming statue of Baba Saheb in Mumbai next year will be higher than the Statue of Liberty in America,” Athawale said.
Message to youth
Athawale urged the youths to develop a sense of oneness and brotherhood for fellow citizens to fight casteism and inequality prevalent in society. He called upon the youths to create job avenues through self enterprises, and taking advantage of loans offered by banks, instead of seeking jobs.
Athawale exudes confidence that the youth could make India the second/third largest economy in the world from the current status of the fifth largest economy in the next five years under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
Setting aside the opposition allegation that Prime Minister Modi would change the Constitution of India, Athawale said, “It is a false narrative as Modi had entered Parliament taking vows to uphold the Constitution”.