New Delhi, Oct 29 (UNI) In the thick of a renewed controversy over the Gujarat riots, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said he was not averse to anyone's love for the 'minorities', but was certainly against 'minorityism' in politics.
''This is the precise reason why I took umbrage to the Prime Minister's statement in which he declared the minorities' first claim over resources,'' Mr Modi said, adding: the PM later realised his mistake implicitly but only after raised the issue.'' Mr Modi, who was giving his first interview to Sahara Samay news channel after the sting operation by Tehelka that exposed the Modi government's alleged complicity in the post-Godhra riots in 2002, emphasised on his Hindutva credentials, saying he was proud to be a Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) swyamsevak who imbibed Hindu values.
During his 30-minute interview, the Gujarat Chief Minister declared that he would not allow ''maut ke saudagaron'' (merchants of death) to prosper on the on the soil of the state.
''I assure you that they (terrorists) will be repaid in full measure in Gujarat,'' he asserted.
Mr Modi, who courts charisma and controversy in equal measure, however, ignored a question whether he would assure that Gujarat would not be inflicted by any riots in the future.
He merely stated that ''maut ke saudagaron ki Gujarat me jagah nahin hai'' (merchants of death will have no place in Gujarat).
Asked how he would identify 'merchants of death', Mr Modi quipped: ''It is very easy to identify them.'' He, however, hastened to add that he was nobody to decide about their fate.
''But let me make it clear that I am determined to pay back terrorists in the same coin,'' he said, adding: ''The responsibility of security of 5.5 crore people of Gujarat is cast upon me.'' Mr Modi, whose state goes to the polls in December, also talked about developmental projects he had initiated during his governance and dismissed the criticism against him as nothing but ''passion'' of a few. ''Let them do it but I am focused on development of the state,'' he said.
To a specific query as to why his his colleagues felt proud of bragging about the riots, he deftly skirted the issue, asserting that people of the state were proud of development.
Referring to the Congress' strategy of positioning Mr Rahul Gandhi, a young face, as an effective counter to Mr Modi, he said, ''Let Gujarat be a training ground for him and let him use all his skills to convince the people of Gujarat about his politics.'' He, however, made it clear that he was not really bothered about Mr Rahul Gandhi's efficacy in attracting voters.
''In this election, people have already set the agenda and no political party can alter it,'' he said.
Asked about his political ambition at the national level, Mr Modi said he had never worked for any ambitions. ''At the moment, I am committed to development of 5.5 crore Gujaratis.'' UNI