Sonia provoked me, says saffron leader | india | Hindustan Times
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Sonia provoked me, says saffron leader

The Congress president Sonia Gandhi provoked him to rake up Hindutva during the poll campaign, Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2007 01:40 IST

The Congress president Sonia Gandhi provoked him to rake up Hindutva during the poll campaign, Narendra Modi said on Thursday, promising in the same breath to be “a law abiding citizen”.

“I had kept quiet but Sonia provoked me. I felt the need to tell Sonia the truth,” he said.

Modi claimed his poll agenda was only to raise development issues but he was compelled to play the Hindutva card when Sonia called him a “merchant of death”.

He added that it was his democratic duty to tell the truth to people and asserted that the hostile reaction to his statements on the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter stank of “pseudo secularism”.

“I will reply to whatever issue the Congress raises and will speak in the same language and I have a right to defend himself,” he told a TV channel onboard his customised election vehicle.

The chief minister’s insinuation that Sohrabuddin deserved to die in the fake encounter has provoked condemnation from the Left and the Congress as well as social activists.

Modi said there was no issue about police encounters but what needed to be debated was the issue of “fake police encounters”.

“Fake encounters cannot be accepted.

I have never justified it and I have always condemned it,” he said.

He and his government have taken a stand against it in the Supreme Court, Modi reminded during the television interview.

The chief minister said he had not said anything harsh about Sonia in his campaign. A reference was made to her only when he had to respond to her accusations, he said. “If it is a crime to utter Sonia’s name, then I will stop taking her name.”

Modi said he found it unusual that terrorism was always linked to the minorities. “If I talk of terrorism it does not mean it is linked to terrorists,” he said, adding that the Supreme Court should look into the realities of Sohrabuddin case.