Yes, I am a Hindu nationalist: Narendra Modi
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Excerpts from an interview Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi gave to Reuters.
Is it frustrating that many people still define you by 2002?
Frustration comes when you think "I got caught. I was stealing and I got caught". That's not my case.
Do you regret what happened?
India's Supreme Court is considered a good court today in the world. It created a special investigative team comprising top, very bright officers. In its report, I was given a thoroughly clean chit, a thoroughly clean chit... if someone else is driving a car and we're sitting behind, and if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course it is. If I'm a chief minister or not, I'm a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.
Should your government have responded differently?
Up till now, we feel we used our full strength to set out to do the right thing.
But do you think you did the right thing in 2002?
Absolutely. However much brainpower the Supreme Being has given us, however much experience I've got, and whatever I had available in that situation. This is what the SIT had investigated.
Do you believe India should have a secular leader?
We do believe that . But what is the definition of secularism? For me, secularism is India first. The philosophy of my party is 'Justice to all. Appeasement to none'. This is our secularism.
Critics say you are an authoritarian, supporters say you are a decisive leader. Who is the real Modi?
If you call yourself a leader, you have to be decisive. If you're decisive, then you have the chance to be a leader. These are two sides of the same coin . People want him to make decisions. Only then they accept the person as a leader. That is a quality, it's not a negative. The other thing is, if someone was an authoritarian, how would he be able to run a government for so many years? . Without a team effort how can you get success? And that's why I say Gujarat's success is not Modi's success. This is the success of Team Gujarat.