New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday choked up while speaking about his government’s demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and the black money issue. He came out swinging against criticism of his government’s decision, asserting that not even threats to his life could make him back down.
Modi’s emotional moment came in the middle of a speech he delivered in Goa, after he laid the foundation stone of a greenfield airport at Goa’s Mopa.
“Yes, I also feel the pain. These steps taken were not a display of arrogance,” said PM Modi on the demonetisation and the crowds that have thronged banks and ATMs.
I have seen poverty and understand people’s problems,” Modi said. “I was not born to sit on a chair of high office,” he said, choking up and pausing, unable to continue speaking.
“Whatever I had, my family, my home… I left all of it for the nation,” he continued, voice trembling, to loud applause from the crowd.
“They think they can stop Modi by creating hurdles and harrowing him. I will not be cowed down. I will not stop doing these things, even if someone were to set me on fire alive.”.
“I know the forces up against me. They may not let me live. They may ruin me, because their loot of 70 years is in trouble. But I am prepared,” he declared in forceful tones.
He reasoned that his government had been given a strong mandate in 2014 that was rooted in high expectations, including the fight against corruption. He termed the recovery of black money stashed abroad as a collective duty.