New Delhi: In an interview with news agency ANI on the first day of the new year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said any decision on bringing an ordinance on Ram Mandir can be considered only after the judicial process gets over. He also targeted the Congress for creating “obstacles" in the Supreme Court and slowing down the judicial process.

“We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the ambit of the Constitution," Modi said, when asked whether the Ram Mandir issue had been relegated as merely an emotive issue for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

During the course of the interview, he spoke on various issues—ranging from RBI governor Urjit Patel’s resignation to demonetisation and a mahagatbandhan, or Grand Alliance, of opposition parties against the Bharatiya Janata Party and its NDA allies in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Edited excerpts:

Narendra Modi on RBI governor Urjit Patel

He himself requested (to resign) on personal reasons. I am revealing for the first time, he was telling me about it (the resignation) for the past 6-7 months. He gave it even in writing. No question of political pressure. He did a good job as RBI governor (read more).

Narendra Modi on the Congress

It is a fact that those considered first family, who ran the country for four generations, are out on bail, that too for financial irregularities. It is a big thing. A set of people, who are at their service, are trying to suppress such information and push other narratives.

Even Congress people say Congress is a thought, a culture. When I say Congress-mukt, I want to rid the country from this culture and this sort of thinking. And I say that Congress too needs to be mukt of this Congress culture.

Narendra Modi on the Ram Mandir dispute

Ordinance on Ram Mandir can be considered only after the judicial process gets over. After the judicial process is over, whatever will be our responsibility as the government, we are ready to make all efforts. Judicial process was being slowed down because Congress lawyers were creating “obstacles" in the Supreme Court. A solution would be found to this issue under the ambit of the Constitution

Narendra Modi on demonetisation

The demonetisation wasn’t a jhatka (jolt). We had warned people a year before, that if you have such wealth (black money), you can deposit it, pay penalties and you will be helped out. However, they thought Modi too would behave like others so very few came forward voluntarily.

Narendra Modi on 2019 Lok Sabha elections

It is going to be Janta versus Gathbandhan. Modi is just a manifestation of public love and blessings (read more).

Narendra Modi on Pakistan

“Ek ladai se Pakistan sudhar jayega, yeh sochna bohot badi ghalti hogi. Pakistan ko sudharne mein abhi aur samay lagega (That Pakistan will mend its ways after fight is a mistake. It’ll take time for Pakistan to mend its ways).

Narendra Modi on surgical strikes

I gave clear orders that whether you get success or failure, don’t think about that but come back before sunrise. Don’t fall for the lure and prolong it (the operation). He turned a bit emotional while discussing that operation.

Narendra Modi on Triple Talaq bill

The triple talaq ordinance was brought after the Supreme Court verdict. We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the Constitution. Most Islamic countries have banned triple talaq. So, it is not a matter of religion or faith. Even in Pakistan, triple talaq is banned. So it is an issue of gender equality, matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith. So keep the two separate.

Narendra Modi on Sabarimala

India is of one opinion that everyone should get justice. There are some temples, which have their own traditions, where men can’t go. And men don’t go... In this, Sabarimala, a woman judge in the Supreme Court has made certain observations. It needs to be read minutely. There is no need to attribute those to any political party. As a woman, she has made some suggestions. There should be a debate on that as well sometimes.

Narendra Modi on Ayushman Bharat

The poor are (being) given insurance of up to 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat Yojana. A large of people were suffering (for want of healthcare), today they have got treatment. How can I consider this a failure?

Narendra Modi on BJP’s loss in Assembly Elections 2018

In Telangana and Mizoram, nobody gave the BJP any chance. In Chhattisgarh, a clear mandate was given, the BJP lost. But in two states (Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh), there was a hung assembly. Secondly,15 years of anti-incumbency was being fought by our people. We are discussing what was lacking.

Narendra Modi on Rahul Gandhi calling GST ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’

The way someone thinks is the way someone talks. Have GST processes not been done taking a consensus with all political parties in the country? The GST process had started when Pranab Mukherjee was the finance minister. The government is in favour of bringing construction related material in 5% GST slab.

Narendra Modi on India’s middle class

For the middle class, we will have to change our thinking. The middle class never lives on someone’s mercy. They live with dignity and make immense contribution towards running the country.

Narendra Modi on Congress farm loan waivers

To say a lie and mislead, that is what I call a lollipop. Like saying “we have waived all farm loans". The truth is that nothing like that has happened. Please see their (Congress’s) own circulars, they should not mislead.

Narendra Modi on NDA allies

In 2014, we got full majority, but we adhered to the coalition dharma. We took everyone together. Even today when we run the government, there is consensus in decision-making. Our allies wish to grow and we too want them to grow. We do not want that we should grow at cost of allies.

Narendra Modi on the Congress allies

The Congress game is different. It is a speciality of Congress-led alliance that allies are those who have come out of Congress after raising their voice against the Congress or emerged because of Congress opposition. So when they approach the Congress, Congress usurps them.

Narendra Modi on his tenure as PM

I leave it to people to decide whether satisfied or not with my work. But one thing, I am not surprised, I could neither make the Lutyen’s world part of me or me a part of them.

Narendra Modi on Doklam standoff

India should be judged on the basis of its response in Doklam. And nothing has happened with India that can be considered as deceit, but our principled position has been that we want friendly relations with neighbours.

Narendra Modi on Christian Michel’s extradition

If a Congress worker turns up to be Christian Michel’s lawyer, then it is worrying. People should be proud a razdaar has come, now there will be legal inquiry and the truth will come out. Instead of that, you are sending lawyers from your party to support Michel.

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