London, April 19 : In a veiled attack on Congress and the opposition parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that he "welcomed criticism" and said it was a like a "goldmine for him" but "nowadays criticism has taken form of allegations".
Modi also said: "There is an allegation against me that there is so much criticism, but I don't speak up.
Actually, I give their criticism so much importance that I try to understand that. I try to rectify myself. My work is not to stop one from talking. That you criticise me is a goldmine for me."
"In a democracy if there is opposition but no criticism, then how can it be called a democracy.
This is my conviction that criticism is the beauty of democracy," said Modi during an interactive session of the 'Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath' diaspora event at the Central Hall in Westminster.
"I want Modi government should be criticised to the fullest, in every manner.
Criticisms keep the government on their toes. If anyone criticises me then I consider it my good fortune. I don't feel bad about it," he added.
"...But unfortunately to criticise, you have to research a lot and do a lot of hardwork, have to collect facts and figures, and look at history," Modi also said.
He further said: "Today, no one has so much time.
Very few people do it. Today, criticism has taken form of allegation. In a democracy the biggest strength is criticism, and allegation is worst.
"For a healthy democracy, criticism should get more importance and should be protected from allegation.
I always welcome criticism," he added.