Claiming for the best ever performance of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Modi is expecting a lot from the young voters. Holding Congress responsible for the politics of communal polarization, the Gujarat Chief Minister says that there has been a change in the mood of people who want now development. The BJP strongman also says that this time, the people have decided to teach political parties practising vote-bank politics a lesson and give an absolute majority to the saffron party. The BJP poster boy has spoken on an array of issues, ranging from contesting from two seats to wielding influence in the process of election campaigning, with Prashant Mishra, Senior Executive Editor of Dainik Jagran. Excerpts…

Before commencement of elections, BJP claimed itself as the largest party. Then it started focusing on the target of 272 seats. Now, there are talks of winning 300 seats. Is this just a confidence or building politics ambience for electoral gains?

Modi : Well, this relates to the question of what came before – egg or hen? We have confidence and that’s why we are working hard. Due to this, we are receiving enough support and that’s how an ambience is being created and this has boosted our party morale. The BJP had named me as the prime ministerial candidate on 13th September. Since then, I have addressed more than 380 rallies. After announcement of poll schedule, around 185 rallies were planned. Besides, an attempt is also on to interact with the people residing in far-flung areas of the country via 3D technology. Overall, 1000 rallies would be held with the help of 3D technology. The way people are angry with Congress, two things look certain – first, the party will finish in the bottom-most tally for the first time in the history of elections in Independent India. Second, this ensures the best-ever performance of BJP and NDA.

Are you being overconfident…..?

Modi (interrupting): The massive turnout seen in this year’s elections, especially the youth have shown an unexpected interest in the process and participated actively, has made it clear that 2014 general elections are phenomenal. This time, people are not only coming out of their homes to cast their votes but millions of people, as volunteers, have joined hands with the BJP via website. This is a big change. The way rallies are witnessing swarming of people, it seems that that this is the first elections, where before completion of poll process, the people have decided to give an opportunity to BJP. The overwhelming support, which BJP has been receiving for the last five to six months, is now getting transformed into an absolute majority and this can be seen quite clearly.

It’s being said that Modi assumes a dominant role in everything. The way this election is witnessing a series of personal allegations and counter-allegations, is Modi’s dominant role responsible behind it? Why don’t you come clear on these allegations?

If I start responding to false allegations, the verbal duel will continue. Yes, this is true that those who are opposed to me have crossed the lines of decency and level baseless allegations against me and spread false deliriums but I have decided to tolerate all humiliations and consume the poison so that the topic related to the country’s youth, farmers, women don’t get diverted. I don’t pay any attention to what opponents are saying and don’t even feel the necessity to comment on these. But if the UPA government has nothing to talk on their achievements and work they did in the last ten years and coming out with comments on BJP leaders prove that the government did really waste the last ten useful years. The people have shown interests in politics after a long time. There was a feeling of anger towards the politicians and I am seeing these getting transformed into support and affection for the first time. This wave of hope, along with the trust of the people, needs to be preserved.

When you started the campaign, the prime issue was development, hunger, fear and corruption but don’t you think that the elections are being contested on the plank of polarization?

Initially, we decided to contest the elections purely on the basis of positive issues related to development and good governance. Had other parties done the same time, there would have been an addition of new chapter in our electoral politics. It’s unfortunate that the opponents have left no stone unturned in pushing the election back to the old issues of community and religion. In spite of that, this is the first election, where a big party like BJP is contesting the poll on the issues of development and good governance. In the last months, it has been my earnest efforts to raise the key issues of the people. The nation’s mood is changed this time and the people have decided that they will talk on the real issues related to them and their life and support the BJP.

Then who is responsible for the politics of polarization?

As an army senses its defeat by sneaking into bunkers, in the same way Congress, in a bid to save its skin, is once again trying to contest the elections hiding behind the shield of pseudo-secularism. Those who are talking about secularism are not aware of this fact that the India of 21st century is a new India. Today’s youth abhors politics based on the caste, creed and religion. The youths want such a government that can find a solution to their problems, make their dreams come true, focus on the issue of development and provide them employment opportunities.

But…even your party leaders are facing accusations. The Election Commission (EC) has even put a ban on Amit Shah…

Tell me any one of my speeches wherein I mentioned about caste or religion. Similarly, tell me about one such speech of other party leaders, wherein they have not spoken on these issues. Several Congress leaders have come up with the most objectionable remarks, however their party high command instead of disciplining them gave a silent nod. As Amit Shah has respected EC, the ban was lifted on him and this has clearly reflected our respect towards EC and a deep-rooted faith in the nation’s judicial machinery and constitutional traditions. My question to those analysts who are talking about polarization: has any party, till date, made any serious or emphatic effort over development and good governance? Those parties which are indulging in misleading campaigning are not going to derive any dividend. The voters have awakened this time and they have made their mind to support the BJP.

Will BJP ensure that it would not practise the politics of polarization?

Our brand of politics believes in walking along with everyone. We believe in our slogan of everyone’s support and everyone’s development. I may lose the election but would never practise politics of division.

Prashant Mishra/JPN