New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he attaches big importance to criticism and sometimes misses critics as “people who only level allegations and play games about perceptions are more in number”.

In an interview to Open magazine in which he spoke about a host of governance issues and his personal journey, he said, “I feel, and this is my conviction, that for my own healthy development, I attach big importance to criticism. I, with an honest mind, respect critics a lot. But, unfortunately, the number of critics is very few.”

“Mostly, people only level allegations; the people who play games about perception are more in number. And the reason for this is that, for criticism, one has to do a lot of hard work, research and, in today’s fast-paced world, maybe people don’t have time. So sometimes, I miss critics,” the PM added.

Opposition parties and a section of activists have often alleged that the Modi government is vindictive towards its critics.

With the prime minister set to complete two decades in government, including as Gujarat chief minister, on October 7, Modi noted that he had nothing to do with the political domain itself in his early life and right from his younger days, his bent was spiritual.

The maxim that serving people is akin to serving God always inspired him, he said.

He added, “As for politics, I did not even have a remote connection to it. It was much later that due to circumstances, and at the insistence of some friends, that I joined politics. Even there, I was in a position where I was primarily doing organisational work.”

Modi had joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at a young age and was later deputed to the BJP.

To a question about his journey from a humble background to the country’s most powerful position, Modi said he feels privileged that the people of the country have given him such huge responsibilities and continue to repose their trust in him.

This is the strength of our democracy, he said.

“That is why empowering people by making upward mobility achievable has become one of the fundamental motivations for me,” the prime minister said in the interview.

“It is important that every youngster get opportunities. And when I speak of opportunities, I do not merely refer to assistance that keeps them dependent but the support that makes them self-reliant to fulfil their aspirations, with dignity,” he said.

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