Says action against rivals must never be guided by political considerations

As Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stepped up her offensive against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over allegations against her husband, Robert Vadra, the prime ministerial candidate of the latter, Narendra Modi, said here on Sunday that he did not believe in the politics of vendetta, but the law must take its own course.

Asked how allegations against Mr. Vadra would be dealt with in the event of his coming to power, Mr. Modi said he did not believe in the politics of vendetta and witch-hunting, of which he himself had been a “victim” for the past 10 years. But nobody was above the law, which must take its own course.

“But that has to happen in an institutional manner as per the due process without interference from any quarter. Such actions should never be guided by political considerations,” Mr. Modi said.

Answering a question on recent attacks on him by Ms. Vadra for allegedly humiliating her family, he said: “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.”

Asked which one was the “real Modi,” a strong-willed and decisive leader or a divisive and authoritarian one, the Gujarat Chief Minister said that those who had seen him closely and worked with him believed that he was strong willed and decisive.

However, some people, for reasons best known to them, had decided to judge him not on what he was and his work but “on the basis of perception created about me by certain vested interests and my political opponents.” At times, he wondered why was there “this constant attempt to portray me in a particular manner.”

Mr. Modi sad his opponents had not been able to find any serious allegations of corruption, nepotism or incompetence against him. “They have found no substantive issues to target me. Thus, it seems they resort to vague, non-specific and subjective things like saying that I am authoritarian, jingoistic, divisive, etc.,” he said.

About his prospects in the election, Mr. Modi said: “As of now, I firmly believe that the BJP with its pre-poll NDA partners is going to get the required numbers to form a government at the Centre.”

Asked if he would reach out to the powerful regional leaders Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalithaa and Mayawati after the election results were out, Mr. Modi replied: “We are sure that we will get the numbers to run the government. However, we will need everyone’s support and cooperation to run the country.”

Reacting sharply to Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s accusation that his election campaign was a “dangerous combination of religious fanaticism, power and money,” he said: “Faced with certain defeat and fighting for survival, it [the Congress] is once again trying to hide in the bunker of secularism. Its last hope is to somehow cross the 100-seat mark, which now appears an uphill task for it.”

Responding to Ms. Gandhi’s dig at him 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.