New Delhi, April 18 IANS | 6 months ago

Pitching for a "Team India", BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said Friday his appeal would not be to Hindus and Muslims but to the entire people of the country.


Holding that the country has been divided in the name of secularism, Modi said: "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."

"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 Network 18.

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

The BJP prime ministerial candidate said he was ready to face defeat but would not practice the politics of identity.

The Gujarat chief minister said he wanted to create a "Team India" which would include the prime minister and all chief ministers.

"It will be like a family," he said.

Referring to a just-released book by Sanjaya Baru, Minister Manmohan Singh's former media advisor, Modi said it "reveals that one family has been running the country. This tradition of governing the country from one power centre has adversely affected the nation".

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 foreign policy, Modi said that trade, commerce and technology would be the driving factors in Indo-US diplomatic relations if the BJP came to power at the centre.

"It is in India's interest to promote trade, commerce and technology. We will do whatever is necessary to that effect," he said adding that the parameters of diplomacy have changed drastically in the post-globalization era.

On economic policy, a pan-India goods and services tax with the support of state governments and a push for infrastructure and privatisation of state units without politics were among Modi's assurances if voted to power.

He also said the entire gamut of foreign equity needed re-evaluation, even as his pro-people, pro-jobs government will not cut subsidies but shun crony capitalism.

"We have always been on the side of the goods and services tax. But its success lies on a proper information technology network across the country. Unless a proper IT network is laid, implementing this tax is impossible," Modi said.

Pressing for corruption-free politics, Modi said he looked forward to creating a system where there was little scope for crime and corruption.

"We cannot ensure 100 percent cleansing of political malpractices but we would stress on preventive measures so that the scope for crime and corruption is negligible," he added.

He said if the BJP came to power, he would send a list of tainted MPs to the Supreme Court.

"It is important that there is speedy judicial process. If the charges against an MP are found correct, he would have to resign," Modi said.

Terming the media as "news traders", the prime ministerial aspirant called for self-regulation by the media.

"The power of media should increase, but the media should also work towards increasing their credibility," Modi added.

(Posted on 18-04-2014)

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