In yet another interview, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said there was no question of him reaching out to the Muslim community to seek their votes. He said he believed in talking to Indians as a whole and not on the basis of their religion.
“I will never engage in divisive politics even if it means I lose the elections. The country has been divided in the name of secularism. We are all fellow citizens and that is my firm belief. I have succeeded in Gujarat and I will succeed in India,” Modi said in an interview to CNBC-Awaaz.
Just like in his previous interview, Modi appeared to take his victory in the elections as a foregone conclusion. But more significantly, his remarks came in the backdrop of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s spot-ad, where she warned voters that Modi was a threat to the country’s secular fabric.
Modi’s remark on not wanting to talk to the minority community directly was a bit surprising as it came close on the heels of BJP president Rajnath Singh meeting Muslim clerics in Lucknow, from where he is contesting the elections.
Rajnath was photographed in a skull cap, which Modi had refused to don during a rally in Gujarat some years ago.
In the interview, Modi maintained that he would not make a separate appeal to the Muslim community. “I will never commit the sin of appealing to one community.”
“I will not say anything to Hindus or Muslims. I will only appeal to fellow Indians. They will decide,” Modi said. He went on to say that there was no question of ever having any scheme to reach out to Muslims alone as he was a “strong opponent” of the idea.
He said the nation had been divided multiple times in the past on the basis of religion and needed to move forward together.
Commenting on the Congress president’s meeting with the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, he said, “I would want Sonia Gandhi to meet all communities. It is part of her responsibility. But what message are you trying to send? That is worrying.”
Taking potshots at the Prime Minister, Modi said from his former media advisor’s book it was obvious that Singh was “under pressure of one family”.
Defending the RSS, he said, it was “fashion” to criticise the organisation whenever the Congress was in trouble.He also backed the federal structure and said goods and service tax was not possible unless the information network between the Centre and the states was strengthened. The Congress attacked Modi, particularly his statement on the minority community and secularism, to ask what else could be expected of him.
“His past record shows that he does divisive politics,” Union Minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.