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'India must give reply to Pak in its own language'

Parag Dave in Gandhinagar | January 02, 2009 09:59 IST

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Terror as an issue may not have paid off for the BJP in the recent assembly elections but its Hindutva mascot and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images] may not be averse to flagging it again in the Lok Sabha elections later this year.

Modi, who had exploited  the issue of export of terror from Pakistan through his famous 'Mian Musharraf' campaign in the earlier elections, also feels that the Indian government has to 'respond' to the Mumbai terror attacks from across the border 'in their own language'.

In an exclusive interview to PTI, he also spoke of the anti-terror laws passed in Parliament recently but feels that terrorism cannot be fought with the '19th century laws'.

Disagreeing with the view that terrorism as an issue had not paid for BJP in the recent assembly elections in Rajasthan and Delhi [Images], where he had also campaigned against the backdrop of the Mumbai attacks, the chief minister said: "This theory is being propagated by a few people who wish to help Pakistan and Congress."

"In the four states (Madhya Pradesh [Images], Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi) where the elections were held, more than 600 seats were in contention. BJP won 294 while the Congress won 274.  This only shows that the people have supported BJP to root out terrorism."

Terming the recent Mumbai mayhem as an attack on the country, Modi said the people wished that Pakistan should be given an "apt reply in its own language".

He termed as "eyewash" the Central government's steps like creation of National Investigating Agency (NIA) and amendments in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after the Mumbai terror attack.

"It is eyewash. The steps are not enough to give legal backing to fight terrorism. The only positive thing about these steps is that opinion of those who were saying that no new law is required to fight terrorism has changed. We cannot fight terrorism with 19th century laws," Modi said.

"The Mumbai mayhem was an attack on India by Pakistan. Now, India has to respond. Central government has to decide about the right kind of response that needs to be given to Pakistan. It is the wish of common people that India should give reply to Pakistan in its own language," he said.

A 'zero tolerance' policy should be adopted by the Centre as well as each and every state against terrorism like in the United States, he said.

Accusing the Congress led-UPA government of practising 'vote bank' politics over terror issue, Modi said the alliance has to decide whether it will continue to adopt such policies or care for common people.

"The more they indulge in vote-bank politics, the more the common people will become vulnerable. By not hanging Afzal Guru and repealing the existing terror law (POTA) they encouraged terrorism."

Replying to a question about the chances of his playing a bigger role in his party at the national level in view of the advancing age of BJP's prime ministerial candidate, 58-year-old Modi said people prefer experience when it comes to leading the nation.

He said India required experienced and capable leaders and compared two former Congress prime ministers Narasimha Rao and Rajiv Gandhi [Images].

"In India issues are very complex, to run the country is not just a simple administration. The person needs to understand problems of South, North East, Gujarat, the hills and the plains. In such circumstances, experience is an advantage," Modi further said.

"BJP was one such party, which had capable and experienced leaders like Advani [Images]. This is our plus point," Modi said.




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