Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday claimed that some political factions are using the “the insecurities of Muslims” to collect votes. He made the comment in an interview with ABP News during which he was questioned about the Ayodhya dispute, allegations that he has not done anything for Muslims, about demonetisation and India-Pakistan relations, among other matters.
Modi said his government works only in the interests of Indian citizens as a unit. The prime minister stressed that his administration works on the principle of inclusive development.
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“During Manmohan Singh’s tenure as prime minister, a Sachar Committee was formed, who came to Gujarat where I was the chief minister and asked me what I had done for Muslims,” Modi said. “To which I responded that my government did not do anything for Muslims and nor will it do anything in future. My administration has not done anything for Hindus either. It only works for the welfare of the people.”
“Some people use the insecurity of Muslims in an attempt to grasp votes,” he added.
To a question if he wants a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, Modi said, “Who wouldn’t....It is not just me, but everyone wants Ram temple to be built.” The prime minister added that they will wait for the Supreme Court to decide on the matter.
The Ayodhya-Babri Masjid dispute took a violent turn in December 1992, when Hindutva mobs backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party tore down the mosque.
The prime minister also took on the BJP’s rival Congress, saying that its recently released poll manifesto “stinks of separatism”. He claimed the party had taken a shortcut with their manifesto.
“They want to play around with the Constitution and divide the country,” Modi said, referring to the party’s promise to amend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and repeal the sedition law. “My administration would also like a situation where such regulation [AFSPA] is not needed, but the status quo is so volatile in so many places,” Modi said.
On the possibility of being re-elected to power, Modi said, “Some people feel that the administrations don’t do any work in the second term. But I am promising you that be it two or 10 terms, I will work for the public till my last breath.”
Asked about why he never refers to Congress President Rahul Gandhi by name, Modi without naming the Opposition party leader, said, “I am from a regular family with small means. ‘Sahib’ is from a big legacy. I wouldn’t dare take his name.”
Elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. Results will be out on May 23.
This article originally appeared at Scroll.in and has been reproduced with permission.