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My govt’s only religion is India first: Modi

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My govt’s only religion is India first: Modi

NEW DELHI: Faced with criticism that he was soft on Hindutva hardliners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday stressed that as the head of the government, he was obligated to ensure the primacy of the Constitution and rein in those making provocative communal statements.

"This country can only be run in accordance with the Constitution. It is the expression of the ethos the country has followed for thousands of years, and reflects hopes and aspirations of the common man. The country cannot be governed by disregarding its tenets. No one can take law into his hands and nobody can discriminate against anyone on grounds of faith. Those making irresponsible statements should remember that being the head of the government, it is my responsibility to determine how it functions," Modi said even as he rejected the "soft-on-communalism" charge against his government as "imaginary".

During the winter session of Parliament, the government had rejected the opposition's demand that the PM spell out his stance on VHP's reconversion campaign, resulting in quite a few sittings of Rajya Sabha being washed out.

However, even as he dealt with the issue at some length on Friday, the PM resented the charge that his government had failed to leash Hindutva hardliners, calling it a "figment of imagination". He said while the poison of communalism, which has caused havoc, was allowed to spread for political reasons for a long time, it was his government which was being sought to be put in the dock over it. He also told a member of the opposition who had challenged his statement that he could effectively rebut him but was not doing so because he did not wish to waste time.

Modi also recalled the speech he gave in Patna on October 27, 2013, minutes after terrorists had bombed a rally killing half a dozen people and injuring many others. "Blood was flowing amid gun shots and bomb explosions. Innocents had been killed at a gathering of lakhs. The atmosphere was filled with hate. In such moments, you speak what you honestly believe in. And on that day, I appealed to Hindus and Muslims that they had fought long enough without gaining anything. I told them that they should fight their poverty instead of each other," the PM said.

My govt?s only religion is India first: Modi - The Times of India
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