Speaking to Reuters, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has said that he is a nationalist, a patriot and a born Hindu. He added that he does not think there is anything wrong with that.
“I am a nationalist. I am patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am a born Hindu. So yes, you can say I’m a Hindu nationalist,” he said.
He added that there was no contradiction between the above and being “progressive, development-oriented and workaholic.”
“It is one and the same image,” Modi said.
Answering a question on his role during the 2002 post-Godhra riots, Modi said, “A leader who doesn’t take a decision: who will accept him as a leader? That is a quality, it’s not a negative.”
In 2012, a Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team could find no evidence to prosecute Modi and he was cleared of charges that he was involved in the riots.
Modi’s Reuter interview has been grossly misinterpreted: BJP
Answering a question on his said ‘authoritarian’ image, Modi said, “If someone was an authoritarian then how would he be able to run a Government for so many years? Without a team effort, how can you get success? I always say the strength of democracy lies in criticism. If there is no criticism that means there is no democracy. And if you want to grow, you must invite criticism. And I want to grow, I want to invite criticism.”
“Everyone has their own view. I would feel guilty if I did something wrong,” Modi said. “Frustration comes when you think ‘I got caught. I was stealing and I got caught.’ That’s not my case. I was given a thoroughly clean chit.”
In response to a question about what his feelings were regarding the 2002 riots, Modi said his feelings were not unlike the occupant of a car which had met with an accident. “If someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course it is. Whether I am a Chief Minister or not, I am a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.”