Will not wear skull cap to appease others: Narendra Modi
New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Saturday sought to dispel the impression that he had become the hub of the party and other senior leaders of the party have been relegated to the sidelines or dwarfed by him.
In his first TV interview since being named as the party`s PM candidate, Modi said the BJP worked as a team and every leader was assigned responsibilities according to the priorities set by the party.
Dismissing the suggestion that BJP was getting centred around him as "not true", Modi said: "BJP is a huge organization. There is a galaxy of leaders who are equally competent. During elections we have to set a goal and prioritize issues.
"Even for this there is a committee of which Modi is not a part. So responsibilities are distributed according to the party`s goal. Right now I have been given this role and I have to do what the party has asked me to do. I am a worker of the party. We are a team."
Addressing a series of questions on the huge money being spent by the BJP on its campaign, the Congress campaign, on Amitabh Bachchan promoting Gujarat tourism and other issues, Modi, in his long interview, mocked the Congress campaign "Har haath shakti har haath tarakki" saying: "Their hand that commits sin has to be portrayed in some other way. That is why for them, it`s har haath loot, har honth jhooth (Every hand loots, every lip speaks a lie)."
He described as an "achievement" an observation by Rahul Gandhi that he (Modi) can even sell combs to bald people. "I used to sell tea. I never sold combs but the information that I can do it has reached them, is a sort of achievement for me," said Modi.
Making light of Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma`s allegation that BJP has spent Rs. 10,000 crore on its campaign, Modi said: "The first thing that Anand Sharma needs to do is to write to the EC. Then there is a government agency named Enforcement Directorate. ..Let them fully investigate it. If there is any objection from EC, I`m willing to write to EC to let them do it."
Defending his decision not to wear the skull cap, Modi said that he respected his own traditions as well that of others and would not wear the skull cap to appease or hoodwink others.
"They can do anything for appeasement. I believe in respecting traditions of all religions. But at the same time, I have to respect my own tradition as well although I respect all traditions. I can`t hoodwink people by wearing such skull caps. But I believe in taking action against those who show disrespect to other`s caps," he said.
Saying that Indian politics has "deteriorated", Modi said: "I have never seen Gandhi, Patel or Nehru wearing such skull cap. Indian politics has deteriorated. They can do anything for appeasement."
Reacting to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying that in politics you have to take care of every one`s sentiments by wearing tilak and skull caps, Modi said, "If he thinks that it helps in taking care of sentiments then it`s his thought. I believe that their children should get better education. They should have Quran in one hand and computer in the other hand."
On his controversial answer in an interview with a foreign media person in context of killing of Muslims in Gujarat riots that "It pains even when a puppy comes under my car", Modi said: "In our country we say it pains even if an ant dies. These are proverbs. This should not be interpreted otherwise.
"And you should know that the person who had taken my interview, despite being a foreigner, had tweeted that I did not mean anything like that. But the news traders, and I am not talking about media, used this to sell their stuff."
On the impression that Gujarat government was spending huge money on Amitabh promoting Gujarat tourism, Modi said that the mega star was not being paid anything.
He also took on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for comparing the BJP ad blitz to a balloon that would burst, saying that the Congress had said that BJP could not win the elections in Gujarat post the 2002 riots. "In 2002, the Congress said the same thing, but in all the Gujarat polls we won and their balloon burst."
Modi urged the youth not to dream of becoming something but to dream of doing something for the country.
Addressing an audience cheering his every word, Modi said: "I have never dreamed of becoming anything in life but always wanted to do something for the country. Today`s youth should also aim to do something for the country."
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