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I smsed Swagatam to Tata, rest is history: Modi

I smsed Swagatam to Tata, rest is history: Modi

Author: Ashish Mehta
Publication: DNA (Daily News & Analysis)
Date: May 4, 2009

DNA caught up with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as he was waiting at the VIP lounge of Sanganer airport on Sunday evening, bad weather having upset his flight to Phulera in the Jaipur (rural) constituency.

Is this election issueless, and politicians are just slinging mud? It is just the media, especially the electronic media, that says there are no issues. There are three major issues: one, everyone in the country needs development. Two, everybody needs security and safety. And, finally, everyone in India is waiting for a 'confident' government.

Will LK Advani enjoy the same acceptance as PM as AB Vajpayee? Of course! If you see these leaders, their sacrifices and their career graphs, you will find that in no other party is there such a great example of long association. They, too, may have got options to join other parties; they, too, got lucrative offers, but they never compromised on ideology. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani are equally regarded politicians in our country.

If projected as BJP's prime-ministerial candidate in 2014, will you accept it? (Laughs) I don't know how the future will unfold. I have to go to address a rally in Bikaner and I am not even sure if I will be able to reach there due to poor weather.

Many people in your party believe you can be prime minister. Let me clarify. Many don't know that prime minister Manmohan Singh, in a press conference during the Gujarat assembly polls, had remarked that with Gujarat developing at such pace, it wouldn't be surprising if I became prime minister. This is all Mr Singh's doing.

If the NDA comes to power, how will you tackle Pakistan and the rising terrorism? I don't think any government will keep mum the way the present UPA government is on the issue of atrocities against Punjabis and Hindus living in Pakistan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should at least make a phone call to Islamabad and ask what is being done to the Sikhs there. After all, he is a Sardar. If the NDA comes to power, we will put pressure on them and intervene rather than watch things sitting here.

You called the Congress a 150-year-old institution, a budhiya. (Laughs) I was surprised when Priyanka Gandhi took my comment so seriously and replied by telling her age. I know her age. She does not need to tell me. I still maintain that the Congress is a 150-year-old party and people need change.

You have been saying that the voter is being cheated by the UPA and some other parties. What do you mean? After hearing what Ram Vilas Paswan, Amar Singh, and Sharad Yadav have been saying, the voter feels cheated. The UPA and its constituents are saying they will decide on various issues after May 16. Why? You never know if the candidate you are voting for will join a party you hate. The UPA and its constituent parties are contesting elections and they should clear their agenda before a voter goes and votes. In the NDA it is clear that Advani is our prime-ministerial candidate and our manifesto is clear in the minds of voters.

How did you get the Nano to Gujarat? You won't believe that a simple sms from my cellphone did the trick. I was watching TV and learnt that the Tatas had decided to leave West Bengal and were looking for other areas for their unit. I immediately sent an SMS to Mr Ratan Tata, saying, "Swagatam." The rest is the history.

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