April 18, 2021
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Narendra Modi: The ANI Interview

Narendra Modi: The ANI Interview
Narendra Modi: The ANI Interview

The BJP prime ministerial candidate's most expansive and detailed interview so far in which he answered a host of questions, from the election prospects and previous controversies to the likely policies of his government.

  • This would be the worst electoral performance ever for the Congress in its history and the best ever for the BJP and the NDA in its history
  • Insists that all decisions about the two Lok Sabha constituencies that he is fighting from were not his own decision but that of the party
  • Insists which constituency he would keep or give up would depend upon the people -- but that he would work for all Indians
  • Refuses to answer who would take over in Gujarat once he leaves for Delhi and says it would be a party decision
  • On the fear of Hindutva that might be thrust upon them that many have in Varanasi, says: "I am not going there (Varanasi) to defeat anyone, but to win hearts. Once I meet them all — " directly, not through my opponents, not through media" — they will love me" the way they would never have loved a political leader in the past. 
  • On being asked about the harsh words exchanged with the AIADMK: Says he does not believe in untouchability in politics. Says he has good personal relationship with Sharad Pawar, Jayalalitha. Says he has personal friendship with many Congressmen as well.
  • So if no one is untouchable in politics, does it mean a post-poll alliance with the TRS and Jagan Reddy is possible in Andhra Pradesh? Laughs it off.
  • Says dignity for women should be above politics, and would not comment on other politicians
  • On the language being used, and whether there would be a score-settling once he were to come to power, says he does not believe in vindictiveness opr waste his time in witch-hunts, but adds: "Criminalisation of politics is a grave matter of concern, regardless of parties concerned. How to deal with it? One way can be not to give tickets to criminals. But we have not reached that stage yet. But I have decided this time, regardless of which party criminal MLAs or MPs are from, I will request the Supreme Court to decide all these cases within a year"
  • On charges of crony capitalism: says judge him by his 14 years' experience in Gujarat—on employment, agriculture, tourism, small scale industries, where every one has grown and developed
  • Says the fact that the central government which has levelled serious charges against him has not been able to take any action against him, which by itself proves that it is incompetent and should not be allowed to continue.
  • On his advertising budget of Rs 10000 crores: says the government and the enforcement directorate should investigate into these charges. On the question of performance, asks why would the people of Gujarat keep electing him
  • On Gujarat riots of 2002: Says he was never silent about the 2002 riots in Gujarat. "Check the press conferences, my media interviews to print and TV journalists. I was not silent, I answered every top journalist in the country from 2002-2007, to every question, but noticed there was "no effort to find or understand the truth". Says this was a conspiracy to mislead the nation, that he did not wish to waste any time on this as he has much to work for the country.
  • On 2002 and the complicated relationship with the media: Says he is grateful to the media as without the campaign run by it, who would have known him? Says the media's role is criticism and he wishes that it should continue to do its job well. But there is a difference between "media" and "news traders". Says he does not mind negative news, as it is a source of information.
  • Doe he regret the puppy remark: Says the controversy was instigated by the "news traders" whereas those who took the interview tweeted that Modi did not mean anything bad by it. But those who understand India's language and "bhaav" do not have any problem. It is like when one says even if an ant dies, one is upset, it does not mean that one is comparing the dead with an ant.
  • Says if there is even an iota of truth in the charges against Modi, then for sake of India and for teaching a lesson to future criminals, I should be hanged in public. But if some one has committed a sin, then what is the meaning of saying sorry or making an apology and getting pardoned? There should be no pardon. I pray: get a full detailed investigation by any judicial process in the world.
  • On not wearing the cap offered by the maulavi, but putting on other headgear, or even a  veshti to meet Rajnikanth. Says Nehru, Sardar Patel, Gandhiji, no one had to wear a cap like this. Says he would not follow any symbol of appeasement, and that this has crept in only in the last 20 years or so, but says that if anyone insults the Muslims, it would be his duty to protect them, and that he would never allow anyone to insult them.
  • On muscular foreign policy, and the fear of bullying smaller countries—says, he would go by his upbringing which is "vasudhev kutumbhakam", that the entire world is a family. This is not the time to glare at anyone, but to look everyone in the eye, not to lower the eyes.
  • On the USA, and the visa: Nations are never run because of one individual's likes or dislikes. What happened to one Modi is not how a great country like India would determine its foreign policy
  • On China: the same as above
  • On nuclear doctrine confusion and the relook at no-first use and whether India will remain committed to disarmament. Says it is Buddha's, Mahavira's, Gandhi's land. That we want to be powerful for defending ourselves. Says there will be no compromise on Atalji's "no first use" as this is our heritage and culture too.
  • On Vodafone retrospective tax and bringing back confidence in the Indian market: says retrospective change in policy is not a good idea at all. We will have open policies, and there will be no retrospective change ever. It is a crisis of confidence. 
  • On decentralisation, and strong federal structure. Says, as a chief minister, I have no power. The secret of my success as a chief minister is because all my administration is decentralised. Says he will ensure that the PM and the CMs will work as a team. The centre and the state should co-operate.
  • On J&K: there is a unanimous resolution of two houses of Parliament.
  • On Amit Shah's statements and whether he has Modi's blessings: Says Amit Shah is an individual in his own right and that he is no one's man. Says Shah has responded to the EC notice and that he would await the EC's decision.
  • On Rajnath Singh's statement that BJP is Modi and Modi is BJP: says the so-called wave is a wave for the BJP and that he is a very small part of the BJP.
  • On Social media: says it is an amazing source of information and should not be dismissed as a tool for political propaganda
  • On Criticism: Says he used to get very upset and hurt earlier because of criticism but that he has learnt now to deal with it patiently. And that he does not take criticism negatively but looks at it critically and tries to learn from it. Says he wrote a poem once that he has learnt to make a stairway with the stones thrown at him. Says he has no bitterness.
  • Says once the election fever subsides, things would settle down, and that the things said during an election campaign should not be taken too seriously, says he himself may have said much against Rahulji, Soniaji, Manmohanji, Nitishji etc, but that is not a permanent feeling and should be passed off as a result of the election fever, and that once the fever subsides, these feelings too would subside.
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