Narendra Modi has been hitting the national headlines with his Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra that has been spanning the length and breadth of Gujarat. In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN, he opens up on issues like Sonia's medical bills, his strongman image and his national ambitions as PM candidate.
On the silence of Sonia about the 2002 riots in her election campaign:
"I have always focused only on development. I have the courage to ask people and rectify my course of action. After 11 years, I am glad that the Congress has been forced to come back on the development agenda."
On raising questions about Sonia and her health bills:
"I have raised no questions about her health. I have personally told the PM that we should spend on her health and that should be kept beyond the purview of RTI. All I did is highlight a PTI report that was carried in July by several newspapers about Soniaji's foreign trips. It said that a sum of 1880 crore was spent. I am only demanding a clarification. It is the duty of Congress so that Sonia Gandhi's reputation should not suffer."
On using Vivekananda as his poll plank:
"This is the 150th year of Swami Vivekananda's birth. Our government has undertaken youth programs across the state. We are focusing in skill development. This happens to be his 150th birth anniversary and I cannot help it. But I feel that political parties have some responsibility towards the people and to create awareness. I have personally addressed two lakh youth and told them about Vivekananda's ideology."
On malnutrition and the water scarcity in Saurashtra district:
"Earlier, more then 4000 villages used to depend on water tankers. This year, despite rain deficit, I have provided the waters of the Narmada to Saurashtra. There are 900 camels who carry drinking water from the Narmada to BSF jawans posted in the Kuchch region. The Planning Commission has said nothing specific about the malnutrition in Gujarat. I have asked for a scientific survey on malnutrition because I feel it is a serious issue."
On future course of action:
"Till now I was filing the pits left by Congress. Building my dream Gujarat will only begin now. I will remain a servant of the people of Gujarat and fight for them."