The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, said on Friday that he would prefer losing the election to appealing to specific communities for votes, emphasising that he would never practise “divisive politics.” “Politics over secularism has divided India into categories such as Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, etc. I will never do that,” he told CNBC Awaz in an interview.

Ruling out the possibility of any special attempt to reach out to Muslims, Mr. Modi said: “I will not do that. I do not require doing that. For me, all 125 crore Indians are the same. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. In Gujarat, I have treated all six crore people as one.”

Mr. Modi did not see any contradiction between the BJP opposing Congress president Sonia Gandhi meeting Muslims leaders and the party president Rajnath Singh doing the same. “Our opposition was not to Ms. Gandhi meeting Muslims leaders, but to the appeal that she made to them to consolidate and vote in a particular way. There is no harm in meeting leaders from any community,” Mr. Modi said.

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, answering a question on how he plans to deal with coalition compulsions if he became prime minister, said that “the pressure on the current PM was more from one family than coalition partners.” Mr. Modi said coalition or not, no prime minister can afford to ignore regional aspirations.