The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said the Congress, SP and BSP are misleading the people by wearing a veil of secularism

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday downplayed talk of the emergence of a third front, saying the “experiment” will prove “costly” for the country which needed a government that could take decisions and come up to the people’s expectations.

“It is my firm belief that the country is at a decisive stage where such an experiment (of a third front) would prove costly. The country needs a government that can take decisions and come up to the expectations of the people,” he told Hindi daily ‘Dainik Jagran’ in an interview.

Mr. Modi said all the parties who are advocating such a front emerged and got established on the basis of anti-Congress politics but were forced to join hands with Congress due to political opportunism at one time or the other.

“And now when there is an anger against Congress in the country, those working towards the third front are in a way actually helping Congress,” he said.

Promising to root out corruption by adopting a “zero tolerance” policy towards it, the Gujarat Chief Minister made a veiled attack on the country’s top political leadership, saying if they are “themselves corrupt or give their silent approval to corruption due to their own weaknesses, then who will stop it.”

He said for curbing corruption, what is need is that the top political leadership should be “credible”.

Mr. Modi said people of the country have to decide which party can provide a leadership with proven credentials that can fight corruption.

“It is my firm belief that this fight cannot be fought with laws alone. While good intention is necessary, there is a need for an experienced and strong leadership to totally root out corruption....I promise to adopt zero tolerance towards corruption,” he said.

Mr. Modi brushed aside criticism about he having launched sharp personal attacks against his opponents and said though he has refrained from making personal attacks, he has raised issues like dynastic politics in public interest which some people have taken as personal criticism.

He instead talked about himself being target of scathing personal attacks all these years based on “falsehood”.

Rubbishing the charge that he was “bold to be extent of being a dictator”, he said the state of affairs in the country had been such that indecisiveness had become the order of the day and decisive leadership faced criticism.

“I believe that before taking any decision, it is necessary to hold discussions with all. But once a decision is taken, its time-bound implementation is also necessary. Otherwise, we will become a victim of paralysis by analysis,” he said.

He accused the Centre of not treating states as equals and said development is possible only when states and the Centre move together as a team and there is cooperation between the Prime Minister and the chief ministers.

Attacking Congress for failing to control inflation, he said it promised to bring down inflation within 100 days of coming to power but could not do so even after five years of being in power. He said there has been “political misuse” of all institutions in the last ten years by the Congress-led government and said good governance is possible only when the government is run on policies and is not “personality-driven”.

“I am of the strong view that the poor have the first right on the resources of the country. Giving subsidy to the poor is justified and this cannot be disputed.

“But the key difference is that Congress views the poor as their vote bank and wants that they should remain poor and remain dependent on the government so that their vote bank remains intact. We, however, feel that the poor be empowered to fight poverty,” he said.

Talking about relations with neighbouring countries, Mr. Modi held that only a strong nation can ensure good ties with neighbours and said that BJP will be “pro-active” in its approach but will see to it that the nation’s interests are kept foremost while dealing with them.

Stressing on “pro-people and pro-active good governance,” he said that he wanted to take the nation on the path of speedy progress and replicate Gujarat’s growth of over 10 per cent across the country. Defending the Gujarat model, he said people have given their answer by electing him thrice.

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