I am proud to be a Hindu, asserts Narendra Modi

downloadNEW DELHI: BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday said he was proud to be a Hindu but would like to see himself as an Indian first.

In an interview to PTI, Modi said, “I would like to see myself as an Indian first and foremost, I am a Hindu by faith and I am proud of the faith I belong to. I love my country. So you can say that I am a patriot.”

Though Modi had called himself a Hindu nationalist only a few months back in a similar interview, his expression of pride in his faith is an assertion of the Sangh Parivar slogan “Garv Se Kaho Hum Hindu Hain” (say with pride that we are Hindus). It’s a saffron theme that the Parivar traces back to Swami Vivekanand, a Hindu monk who ranks high in Modi’s pantheon.

Modi, in fact, made the assertion while answering a question about his ‘Hindu nationalist’ statement in July last year. He has, however, maintained since that the government has only one religion — “India First”. He was asked if he saw a contradiction there.

In a recent interview to a news channel, Modi had said the government was run according to the Constitution and not by the ideology of any organization (reference to RSS). He said he would take everyone along and work for their development.

Modi’s interview with PTI has come at a time when polling on 349 seats are over with 194, including Varanasi, still to go.

Sharpening his attack on Congress, Modi said the party was “hiding in the bunker of secularism” as it had failed on all parameters of governance. Modi said Congress was fighting for its survival with even a 100-seat mark in the new Lok Sabha appearing “an uphill task for it”.

Modi’s secularism barb was in reaction to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s accusation that his election campaign was a “dangerous combination of religious fanaticism, power and money”. “Its last hope is to somehow cross the 100-seat mark which now appears an uphill task for it,” Modi told PTI.

Responding to Sonia’s dig that he was promising to make India a paradise, he said, “I have never claimed that I will make India a paradise and that I have solutions to all problems. I am sure even people do not expect this from me.” People of India were not looking forward to miracles but “they certainly deserve a stable, decisive and sensitive government,” he said.

Asked about recent attacks on him by Priyanka Gandhi who had accused him of humiliating her family and husband Robert Vadra, the BJP leader said as a daughter and sister she had the right to campaign for her mother and her brother. “It is natural that a daughter would like to defend her mother. A sister would like to defend her brother. I do not have any problems with that,” Modi said.

Modi reiterated that the issue of Vadra’s land deals would not be treated with a sense of vendetta and witch-hunt that he had been subjected to by the Congress in the past 10 years. He said that law would take its own course.

Source: Times of India