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‘My idea of Hindutva includes all. Development should help all’

'We treat the whole world as family'

You appear quite aggressive this time. What explains this change from your first term?

I kept quiet for days. But when people take you for granted because of your goodness,it becomes necessary to hit back. They screamed ‘dumper dumper’ in 2008,everyone knows what has happened to the case now. When central agencies like Income Tax are misused and attempts made to involve the CM,one wonders if the action is deliberate to create confusion. One has to respond by going against one’s nature.

Is there a deliberate attempt to project a secular image?

Main jaisa hoon vaisa hoon (I am what I am). Why me,the entire Bharat is like that. Respect for all religions is in our roots and land. We treat the whole world as family. All roads eventually lead to the almighty. We will provide opportunities to all. Hug all and take everyone along by respecting their religious feelings. To give one example,our government has provided ten times more scholarships to minority students than the previous Congress government.

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But you continue to take steps like anti-conversion and anti cow-slaughter laws and introduction of yoga and Gita in the school curriculum.

Why should we go away from religion? Religion makes one human. My idea of Hindutva includes all. All religions should be respected and everybody should benefit from development. If someone resorts to conversion by inducements,it’s wrong. But it’s okay if one converts willingly.

You say you are not in the PM race,yet you are reckoned as a dark horse.

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My soul is in Madhya Pradesh. I would like to devote myself to the state. There are more competent leaders in the Centre than me.

Narendra Modi’s posters were missing at the launch of your Jan Ashirwad Yatra but seen at the Neemuch leg.

The media views things differently. It’s natural that if the yatra is passing through rural areas,it will have my posters. I respect the central leadership of which Modiji is a part. Advaniji is our guide. Sushma Swaraj,Arun Jaitley,Rajnath Singh,Murli Manohar Joshi… are all leaders.

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Will Modi attend the workers’ conclave to mark the yatra’s culmination?

We are inviting Modiji. We are inviting all.

What’s your assessment now that you are halfway through the yatra?

Hindus and Muslims have shown equal enthusiasm. It was not so in 2008 when people wanted to test us one more time. Now they trust us.

Will people vote for you or the government?

For the BJP government’s good work. When I talked of 24/7 power,I was ridiculed and even some in the party scoffed at the idea. Digvijaya Singh used to say elections are won by ‘management’. I want to show they are won by welfare and service.

What are your strengths?

Work for the welfare of all. Most importantly,I am not proud that I am the CM. I am more of a bhaiya or mama to them and less of CM.

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Does the talk that the Congress might declare Jyotiraditya Scindia as the CM candidate affect you?

Who they declare the candidate is their concern. But it would amount to cheating Kantilal Bhuria (PCC chief). They will display a lack of faith in Bhuria and the tribal leadership. The chief of the Opposition is very important.

First published on: 25-08-2013 at 02:44:08 am
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