New Delhi, April 18 IANS | 3 months ago

Holding that the country has been divided in the name of secularism, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Friday said his appeal would not be to any Hindus and Muslims but to the entire people of India.


"I will never commit that crime. Neither will I say anything to Muslims nor to Hindus. I will just address 125 crore Indians," he said in an interview to CNBC Awaz news channel.

He was replying to a question on whether he would make an appeal to Muslims in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, from where he is contesting.

"I cannot accept a divide between brothers of the country in the name of secularism. In the name of secularism, the nation has been divided," Modi said.

He said he was ready to face defeat, but would not practice politics of identity.

Responding to questions on objections to Sonia Gandhi meeting the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, when BJP president Rajnath Singh had also met Muslim clerics in Lucknow, he said the objection was not to the meeting (of Sonia) but to the "message" that was going out.

"...a particular community was told whom to vote for. This is against the constitution and electoral laws," the BJP leader said.

Modi said it has become a fashion in the country to blame the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). "Whenever Congress sees bad days, they blame the RSS, which is a cultural organisation.

He said the RSS was an organisation dedicated to the betterment of the country. "They should be appreciated for their good work. I know of many RSS people who are living in remote areas to help people".

On the issue of corruption, Modi said his priority would be to create institutions which can check corruption in the future.

Unveiling his plan to tackle corruption in politics, he said if he comes to power he will try and get all MPs who have criminal cases against them tried in fast track courts.

"After that people who filed their nominations would be tried and after that all corporation and panchayat representatives," he said.

Modi asserted that the constitutional framework given to the country was not bad and it only needed to be implemented properly.

(Posted on 18-04-2014)