Reacting sharply to Congress President Sonia Gandhi's accusation that his election campaign was a "dangerous combination of religious fanaticism, power and money", the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate said, "faced with certain defeat, fighting for its survival it is once again trying to hide in the bunker of secularism.
"Its last hope is to somehow cross the 100-seat mark which now appears an uphill task for it," Modi told PTI.
Responding to Sonia's dig that he was promising to make India a paradise, he said, "I have never claimed that I will make India a paradise and that I have solutions to all problems. I am sure even people do not expect this from me."
People of India were not looking forward to miracles but "they certainly deserve a stable, decisive and sensitive government," he said.
Asked about recent attacks on him by Priyanka Gandhi who had accused him of humiliating her family and husband Robert Vadra, the BJP leader said that as a daughter and sister she has a right to campaign for her mother and her brother.
"It is natural that a daughter would like to defend her mother. A sister would like to defend her brother. I do not have any problems with that," Modi said.
Anwsering a question on how allegations against Vadra would be dealt with in the event of his coming to power, the BJP leader said that he did not believe in politics of vendetta and witch-hunting of which he had been a "victim" for the last ten years.
At the same time, nobody was above law and if somebody had done something wrong, the law must take its own course.
"But that has to happen in an institutional manner as per the due process without interference from any quarter. Such actions should never be guided by political considerations."
I am a patriot, says Modi
Narendra Modi had sparked a controversy sometime back by describing himself as a Hindu nationalist, but today he said that he was a "patriot".
"I would like to see myself as an Indian first and foremost, I am a Hindu by faith and I am proud of the faith I belong to. I love my country. So you can say that I am a patriot", he told PTI.
The BJP Prime Ministerial candidate was anwsering a question about his statement in July last year in which he had described himself as a Hindu nationalist even as he had maintained that the Government had only one religion ie. India First. He was asked if he saw a contradiction there.
Modi rejects charges of favouring Adanis, Tatas
Rejecting Congress charges of favouring big business as "another canard", Narendra Modi said that the incentives given by his government were policy-driven rather than discretion-based.
"I do believe in the importance of Corporate India and how it can help in wealth creation for the nation. I believe that in the last 60 years, the Congress party has indulged in rent seeking behaviour by encouraging red tape," the Gujarat Chief Minister told PTI.
He maintained that he sincerely believed in cutting down on the red tape.
"While I have never been in favour of giving concessions to big businesses, I certainly believe in creating the right kind of atmosphere for investments by expediting procedures, reducing bottlenecks and encouraging transparency.
"Even when incentives have to be given to certain sectors, they have to be sector-specific and policy-driven rather than case-specific and discretion-based."
Modi was responding to persistent charges by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who had accused him of favouring industrial houses such as Adanis and Tatas.
Dismissing the charges as "another canard being spread by a desperate Congress tottering to its fall", Modi said that in an important judgement last week in the Tata Nano case, the Gujarat High Court had upheld the Gujarat government's stand and vindicated it.
"The judgement has comprehensively debunked the allegations made in the petition. Now there is no jusitification for such propaganda," he said. The BJP Prime Ministerial candidate was referring to rejection of a PIL by the High Court challenging 'a soft loan' given to the Tatas for the Nano plant in Sanand as well as the land allocation.
Modi also said that his government's focus regarding industrial investment has been mainly on small and medium scale industries. The growth of micro, small and medium enterprises(MSMEs) had been only 19 per cent across the country compared to 85 per cent in Gujarat.
Modi made the following other points:
Corruption: I have a clear time-bound action plan in mind and we will ensure that when the country goes to polls for the 17th Lok Sabha( scheduled for 2019), there will be no place for corrupt and criminal elements. The action plan would first target sitting MPs who have cases agaisnt them regardless of party and politial affiliations.
Supreme Court would be requested to establish fast track courts across the country to expeditiously try offences against them so that all cases are decided within one year. This would ensure that who are found not guilty were absolved of all allegations and malicious propaganda.
Those who are found guilty would be punished and vacancies arising out of their disqualification will be filled by honest and clean people. In the next stage, all those who had contested elections and members of Panchayati Raj institutions as well as urban local bodies would be targeted.
The message that we want to send is that if you become a MP or MLA, the cases against you will be fast tracked. The leader he admires the most in post-Independence India: Sardar Patel was certainly a stalwart who did a great job as the country's first Home Minister in uniting the entire country and merging the 500-odd Princely states in India.
He is one leader whom I admire for his ability to place national interests above all.
His plans between May 12 when the 9-phase polling comes to end and May 16 when counting of votes begin: I don't think I will able to get any day off. I will decide what to do during 2-3 days only on the 12th. However, I would like to devote some time to thank the lakhs of volunteers and karyakartas who have worked very hard during the last few months.