Haridwar: In the backdrop of growing demand for his ascension as BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is apparently resorting to shun his image as a Hindutva icon. Sharing platform with yoga guru Baba Ramdev in Haridwar on Friday, Modi claimed that communal harmony prevailed in Gujarat during past 12 years.

The Chief Minister also maintained that his model of governance was based on "welfare for all" but made no direct reference to the post-Godhra violence that claimed the lives of over 1000 people, majority of whom were Muslims.

"My manifesto is that everyone should be healthy and welfare for all. In Gujarat (where) riots happened every other day and innocents were killed, today after 12 years there is not a sign of riots," he said. The speech was delivered to a gathering, including a number of religious men, at yoga guru Ramdev's ashram.

Modi also accused the Centre of virtually hounding Ramdev for his views that go against the government. "I want to ask the rulers in Delhi whether it is wrong to put forward your views in a democracy. Is it wrong to have views that are diametrically opposite to that of the government," he said. Referring to the death of a  woman volunteer due to the injuries sustained in a midnight police action on Ramdev's followers on  June, 2011 Modi said "Rajbala (the woman who succumbed) is seeking reply from the government on the action."

"The people in the government are using indecent language against Baba Ramdev, who is serving the nation not only by with his yoga, but also with his movements (against blackmoney)," Modi said. The religious leaders praised Modi's leadership and said he had the ability to rid the nation of ills including corruption.

"At a time when power is concentrated in a handful of people, thousands of crores of country's black money is stashed abroad and our hostile neighbours are getting emboldened by the day, Modi alone can give the country the kind of leadership it is looking for," Ramdev said. However, Modi said he did not want the blessings of the saints for any post but he needed them to keep himself to the right path.

"I need the blessings of the saints not for any post. I need their blessings to keep me on the right path," he said. Modi said he cared for all sections equally. "I have never worked keeping the welfare of a particular section in mind. I have never believed in 'Hindu bhawantu Sukhinah' (May Hindus be happy). My guiding principle has always been 'Sarve Bhawantu Sukhinah' (May all be happy)...," he added.


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