Known for mincing no words, Modi in a stern note said, “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."

Against the backdrop of denial of permission for his rally in Varanasi, the Gujarat Chief Minister said that he and the saffron party are being ‘troubled’ by the Election Commission and wanted the poll body to ‘answer’.
    
"It is up to the Election Commission to answer why we are being troubled. Specifically, why a single party is being troubled, why Modi is being troubled? A lot has happened to me but I don't want to get into it right now. Let the EC take a decision," Modi said.
    
His comment came a day after the election watchdog denied permission for his rally in Varanasi where he is contesting for the Lok Sabha polls.
    
At the same time, he insisted that he was not targeting the EC, saying he has not uttered a single word. He said it is his party, which has written letters to the poll body giving a detailed explanation.
    
"I cannot say much about this because the developments are taking place in Varanasi," he told a news channel in an exclusive interview while referring to the protests being staged by his colleagues, including Arun Jaitley, in Varanasi against the denial of permission for his rally.
    
Jaitley has been in the forefront of the BJP's attack on the local EC officials and has written to the poll body a number of times on the issue.
    
The EC on Thursday dismissed the allegations of the ‘lack of neutrality’.
    
On being asked why he gave a caste-spin to Priyanka Gandhi's 'neech rajneeti (low-level politics) barb at him, he clarified the meaning of the word in Gujarati, the language he was most ‘familiar’ with.
    
"Let's assume I was misunderstood. But even their intention behind such usage of the words was wrong," Modi said targeting Priyanka.

The BJP's prime ministerial candidate said that he had acted ‘tough’ internally against party leaders like his close aide Amit Shah and Bihar leader Giriraj Singh for their remarks targeting Muslims, saying that is why such statements have stopped.
    
"I was tough against this and that is why it stopped. If I didn't oppose it through the internal mechanism, don't you think it would have continued? Hasn't it stopped? Did it stop or not? That means I have taken action and you can understand," he said.
    
On being asked if his attacks on the likes of Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, and Jayalalithaa during the campaigns might have harmed any future alliance with them in case the BJP-led NDA does not get a majority, he said, "Politics isn't conducted on the basis of what is said in the course of election campaigns."
    
He, however, insisted that the BJP will get a clear majority and form the ‘strongest and most stable government’ since Rajiv Gandhi's government in 1984.
    
Modi also rejected allegations that he was discriminating among people seeking shelter in India on religious grounds.
    
The BJP manifesto's mention of India being a ‘natural home to persecuted Hindus’ included people of different faiths but of Indian origin, as Hinduism was not a religion but ‘a way of life’, he argued quoting a Supreme Court judgement.
    
"Hindus were mentioned as it is in the SC's judgment. Hinduism is as a way of life and not a religion. We have nothing to do with it. We don't expect that Hinduism is a religion. Hinduism is a way of life," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.

(JPN/Agencies)

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