Bharatiya Janata Party prime inisterial nominee Narendra Modi on Friday said he was prepared to face defeat, but would not practice politics of identity.
“I will not make any appeal to Hindus or Muslims, but to the entire 125 crore people of India. If it suits them, then it is fine. If it does not suit them, I am ready to face defeat in the elections, I am ready to be wiped out,” the Gujarat chief minister told CNBC-TV18.
“My mantra is that all are one. I cannot accept a divide between brothers of the country in the name of secularism. In the name of secularism, the nation has been divided.”
Questioned on the BJP’s objections to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, when the saffron party’s president Rajnath Singh had later met Muslim clerics in Lucknow, Modi said the objection was not to the meeting but the “message” going out.
“We want Soniaji to meet Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, anybody. It is part of democracy... but a particular community was told whom to vote for. This is against the Constitution and electoral laws. It is not wrong to meet, but the message that has gone out is a matter of concern.”
Modi said if voted to power, he would give priority to preventing corruption and not “waste time on cleaning up old mess”.
Asked if he were to be PM and charges of corruption came up against him, Modi replied, “Professionally, if there are any allegations against me, those cases should not get stuck, but continue.”
Modi also talked about dealing with criminalisation of politics, saying his government would ask the Supreme Court to create a mechanism to fast-track pending cases against lawmakers.
Describing corruption as a "disease", he said he would put in place a mechanism to prevent corruption.
"My priority will be to develop a system by which the scope of corruption is minimised. We have to decide whether I should concentrate my efforts on preventing new corruption or to clean up the old mess. My conscience says that my focus should to be ensure that new mess (of corruption) is not created," he said.
“If I create such a mechanism which has technology and transparency and all the preventive measures, we will jointly address the issue of corruption. That should not be political, otherwise the cause will be defeated and this disease will continue to increase,” he added.