His campaign plank was only developmental issues

Kapalvad (Gujarat): After his hardline talk sparked an outrage, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said Congress president Sonia Gandhi ‘provoked’ him to rake up Hindutva during the poll campaign and asserted that “he was and will be a law-abiding citizen.”

He also said it was his democratic duty to tell people the truth and hostile reactions to his statements on Sohrabuddin reeked of “pseudo secularism.”

‘Right to defend’

“I will reply to whatever issues the Congress raises and will speak in the same language and I have a right to defend myself,” Mr. Modi told Times Now TV channel onboard his specially customised vehicle in the midst of his campaign for the two-phase elections.

Mr. Modi said his poll agenda was only to raise developmental issues but was compelled to play the Hindutva card when Sonia called him the “merchant of death.”

His justification of the Sohrabuddin case was criticised by the Left and the Congress, and social activists amid demands that Mr. Modi be booked for his utterances.

Mr. Modi said there was a need to debate “fake police encounters” and that police encounters were not an issue.

He said he and his government were against fake encounters and had taken a stand against it in the Supreme Court.

“Fake encounters cannot be accepted. I have never justified it and I have always condemned it,” he added.

He said the Supreme Court should look into the realities of the Sohrabuddin case, guided by facts.

He said he had not spoken anything harsh about Ms. Gandhi during his campaign and a reference was made to her only when he was responding to her accusations. “If it is a crime to use Sonia’s name, then I will stop taking her name,” he said.

“I had kept quiet but Sonia provoked me. I felt the need to tell Sonia the truth,” he added. He regretted that “hundreds of accusations” were being levelled against him and that he was surprised why terrorism was always linked to minorities. “If I talk of terrorism, it does not mean it is linked to terrorists.” — PTI

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