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Never Spoken Against Minorities, But Will Not Accept Any Special Citizens, Says PM Modi

BHUBANESWAR — Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he has never uttered a word against minorities, and the BJP has “not just today but never” acted against them. He, however, made it clear that he is not ready to accept anyone as “special citizens”.

The comments in an interview to PTI Videos late Sunday are Modi’s most unequivocal on minorities amid an outcry from the opposition that his election speeches are communally divisive and polarising.

He also said the Congress has constantly violated the secular spirit of the Constitution, and his campaign speeches are aimed at exposing the opposition parties’ bid to appease minorities with vote bank politics, reported PTI.

In the interview, he was asked what he has to say about the apprehension among minorities because of his statements. “I have not spoken a word against minorities. I am only talking against the vote bank politics of Congress. Congress is working against the Constitution, that’s what I have been saying,” he replied.

Modi said the makers of India’s Constitution, including B R Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru, had decided there will be no reservations on the basis of religion. “Now you are turning away from that. It is my responsibility to expose them. At that time there were no members of my party in the Constituent Assembly. It was an assembly of eminent people from across the country.”

He was again asked if he had never meant to target the minorities in his election speeches, to which he said, “BJP has never been against minorities. Not just today but never.”

He then added that the Congress follows the path of appeasement. “I follow the path of satisfaction. (Woh log tushtikaran ke raastey pe chaltey hain, main santushtikaran ke raastey pe chalta hoon). Their politics is that of appeasement. My politics is that of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’. We believe in ‘sarva dharma sambhav’. We want to take everyone along with us. We are not ready to accept anyone as special citizens but consider everyone equal,” the prime minister said.

He was also asked if he really believes the Congress will actually give away the Hindus’ wealth to Muslims, or if it was just a campaign pitch.

“It is not the question of me thinking that way. To campaign without any logic is a sin. I have never committed such a sin nor will I want to. Such an illogical campaign has been done by them (opposition),” Modi said.

He acknowledged that the day the Congress manifesto came out he had said it has the imprint of the Muslim League. “Congress party should have rebutted me the same day and should have said ‘Modi ji this is not correct’.”

But because they remained silent “it seemed to me that I will have to gradually educate the people of India”, Modi said.

He claimed that the Congress manifesto promises reservations for minorities in awarding of tenders. “You want to make a bridge. Who will bid for the tender? Someone with resources, expertise, technology. But if you want to bring reservations there also, what will happen to my country’s development?” Modi asked.

Congress leaders have in turn accused Modi of twisting their manifesto’s phrases out of context.

To make his point, Modi again referred to former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks in 2006 at a National Development Council meeting that Muslims have the first right over the country’s resources.

He also referred to a decision by the Congress government of Karnataka to bring all Muslims under OBC reservation category. “They committed a robbery on OBC quota,” Modi said.

“I believe that it is these people who have destroyed the spirit of secularism in our Constitution for their electoral politics. I want to restore that spirit of the Constitution. That’s why it is necessary to expose these people,” Modi said.

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