The BJP’s PM candidate, Narendra Modi, ruled out having talks with nuclear neighbour Pakistan as long as acts of terror from across the border continued.
“Do you think it is possible to have a discussion amidst the deafening noise of bomb blasts and gunshots? So, to have a reasonable discussion, first the blasts and gunshots have to stop,” he told TV channel Times Now in an interview aired on Thursday.
He said Parliament held a unanimous view on the issue of export of terror from Pakistan, and no party had the authority to challenge this opinion. But Modi said, “If a country looks strong, even its companions will change, neighbours will change and the atmosphere will change.”
Read: Pak ready to work with Modi, says ties flourished in Atal yrs
Modi, whose party is widely expected to win most seats in the Lok Sabha, dodged the issue of post-poll alliances, saying politics wasn’t conducted on the basis of what was said in the course of an election campaign, and hinted cryptically that attacks on TMC leader Mamata Banerjee and BSP chief Mayawati could be a strategy to keep the door open to them.
Read: Modi attacks Mamata over 'infiltration'
On the economic front, he said India’s priority would have to be creating jobs. “The country is now going to face a huge shock in the manufacturing sector, and our youth will lose jobs,” he said.
He said he was committed to the government using its funds for the poor, and defended the BJP’s ideological patron, the RSS, saying its thinking on economic issues centred on doing good for the impoverished.
He said an impression had been created that the current election campaign was negative and confrontational. He said it was not the first election where divisive issues had been raised.
But he claimed he had taken action on the issue of hate speech in his party. “If I didn’t oppose it through the internal mechanism, don’t you think it would have continued? Has it not stopped?”
He said he reacted to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s “neech” comment based on his understanding of it in Gujarati, the language he is most familiar with. He then reeled off examples of the UPA’s so-called “neech” politics, including the Commonwealth Games scam, the alleged selling of grain cheap to alcohol companies and the non-utilisation of the Nirbhaya funds.
Read: Modi responds to Priyanka Gandhi's barb, says his 'low-level politics' will save country
The Gujarat CM also touched on the issue of the Election Commission blocking one of his events in Varanasi, saying security concerns around the venue had suddenly been raised even though senior UPA ministers had recently dismissed the need for greater security for him.
Read: Narendra Modi accuses EC of working under pressure, takes out roadshow in Varanasi