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    [2001 onwards]


'I want to spend all my energy
serving Gujaratis'

Ahmedabad, December 15, 2002: Chief Minister Narendra Modi wasn't able to log on personally due to a killer schedule. But when we informed him there were scores waiting for him in here, he was kind enough to let our reporter record his answers.

Sheela :  Are you feeling the burden of victory?

Narendra Modi's answer :  No, responsibility given to me is not a burden. As and when challenges come, I take them up.

Raj from Bangalore : This is not BJP victory but it is purely Modi victory.

Narendra Modi's answer : My friends have the right to do an analysis as they like. But if I am asked to give credit, I'll give the credit to five crore [50 million] Gujaratis, the BJP's organization, and junior and senior workers of the party. They deserve to share my success.

Arvind : Let Modi be the PM of India.

Narendra Modi's answer : I always feel that I am not a man who belongs to the world of power politics. In special circumstances I got the responsibility of Gujarat. I want to spend all my energy and time in the service of five crore Gujaratis. I don't know the reasons for people's feelings. I am not a man who builds castles in the air *laughs*

Disci : What do you think is the major factor which helped BJP win other than the riots.

Narendra Modi's answer :  Many. But not the riots. No, no, no. Riots are now 10 months old. Even now only those people are chanting riots, riots who are not able to digest my victory. Many tricks are being played to undermine the victory and such arguments are part of it. Elections were held within 45 days of Mrs Indira Gandhi's murder, but many in the country were claiming that this is the victory of Mr Clean [Rajiv Gandhi]. Nobody at that time said that the riots have helped Congress win an election or riots are the major factor or it's the success because of Mrs Gandhi's assassination. But today, riots are back in debate because they have malicious intentions, they are unable to digest our victory.

Sanjiv : Now you have two-thirds of majority in your kitty, do u feel that Gujarat requires a new beginning, not only on development issues but also giving a fresh healing touch to its janta?

Narendra Modi's answer : With folded hands I am requesting the country's media and pseudo-secularists to stop digging up the hurts of Gujarat. Let these wounds heal. If this election had been completed four months back, then these types of questions would not have come to me. But there is a constant attempt to keep this hurt alive and it has hit Gujarat the most. Otherwise, I am a person who is, since day one, talking of the unity of five crore Gujaratis.

gogogogo : What do you have to say about losing Gandhinagar seat? Many of your leaders have lost the election too. How do you explain that? Why your Hindutva charisma has not worked there?

Narendra Modi's answer : First of all, this analysis is absolutely wrong. In nooks and corners of Gujarat BJP has won. And when a political party reaches 125, all such arguments become useless. Is it possible to have 125 seats in just one corner of Gujarat? Your basic analysis is wrong. Who lost, and why, can be debated, but 125 seats are across Gujarat. : Do you think this is also the vote for an average Indian's anti-Pakistan sentiment?

Narendra Modi's answer : First thing, let me clarify that we have not used Pakistan in the Gujarat election. But -- underline but -- when the president of Pakistan spoke irresponsibly against Gujarat, it became the duty of Gujarat to give him a fitting reply. It was part of my responsibility to reply to Musharraf. It was not part of my election agenda. : But anti-Pakistan sentiments helped you, right?

Narendra Modi's answer : What are you talking? In India nothing can be a bigger sentiment than the waters of Narmada flowing in the riverbed of the Sabarmati! The whole of Gujarat took hint from it that this is the direction of Gujarat's development.

Kumar : Now that Gujarat's gaurav [pride] has been restored, what steps will you take to maintain it?

Narendra Modi's answer : I will take five crore Gujaratis on my side and fight the people who are opposing Gujaratis. We will be alert now. And I don't think that anti-Gujaratis who are rioting since the last 10 months will be able to carry on now. : Your answer is quite aggressive. Now that you have won, don't you think you can afford to be a little humble?

Narendra Modi's answer : I will be humble in running the administration. But I'll talk to my friends in the media in the same aggressive tone. I'll take proper care of administration. : Can we expect a new Modi in the new term?

Narendra Modi's answer : It depends. What's your perception of the old Modi? Tell me what's your criterion of judging the old Modi. Then I'll tell you something about the new Modi.

Congresssucks : What steps you intend to take to maintain peace in Gujarat?

Narendra Modi's answer : Shanti j che!! Gujarat is completely peaceful. Come out of the wrong impressions. Look what a big election and what huge turnout. All done peacefully. People who are going on with terrible lies are defaming Gujarat. First say sorry for claiming that Gujarat is not peaceful. Please apologize to Gujaratis for spreading canards.

Saisuresh Sivaswamy : How much time do you give yourself in Gujarat before moving to New Delhi?

Narendra Modi's answer : I am a worker dedicated to an organization. Whatever work my party gave me, I fulfilled it. My party told me to leave Gujarat. I left it. Party said go to Gujarat, I went. They said go to Haryana, I went. They told me to go to J&K. So I pegged my tent there. Party called me back from there, I followed the order. My party is my final boss. Whatever my party says, I'll do. I don't have any personal likes or dislikes.

Narendra Modi : I would like to take your leave now. My friends in rediff, it would have been my pleasure if I had been able to talk to you for hours together. I like to chat on the Net because I get in touch with teenagers and Generation Next. Through chats I get today the idea of what the future of India thinks. But due to lack of time I am not able to talk to rediffians and I really regret it. But I'll try to be in touch with you all the time through my Web site.

I am meeting young people quite often and will keep meeting them. But as a citizen of India, I am telling you that if you find me making any mistake, please without any hesitation and without any prejudice draw my attention to it. I'll try to correct myself. In democracy, I welcome criticism, and I hate allegations! There is no space for allegations, but there is lot of space for criticism.

Achyut Yagnik: 'Seeds of defeat in the BJP victory'
Pawan Bansal: 'People were influenced by Modi's rhetoric'
Shankersinh Vaghela: 'It's not fair to win over dead bodies'
Arun Jaitley: 'Progress comes with freedom from terror'

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