People using secularism as mask biggest threat: Modi

New Delhi: Tearing into the Congress manifesto and its campaign slogan “Ab Hoga Nyay” for the Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the nation was seeking answers for the “anyay” (injustice) done by it during 60 years of its rule.

In an interview to CNN-News18, to be telecast on Tuesday, Modi accused the Opposition of speaking in the “same language as Pakistan” by questioning the Balakot air strikes and promising to amend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). He said those hiding behind the “mask” of secularism were the “biggest threat” to the country.

“This means they agree that in 60 years of their rule, they have done ‘anyay’. What about justice to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, the triple talaq sufferers, the farmers of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh who were promised loan waivers? You promised them justice in just 10 days. It has been 100 days now.

“In the name of the Samjhauta case, you coined the term ‘Hindu terror’ to link Hindus to terrorism. This nation’s Hindus are asking for justice. They want to know why they were branded terrorists. P.V. Narasimha Rao (former Prime Minister) is asking for justice. The Congress didn’t allow his body to be kept at the party office even though he dedicated his life to them. His soul is asking for justice,” Modi said.

He was responding to the question on the Congress promise of “NYAY”, announced in its manifesto, and the campaign slogan “Ab Hoga Nyay”.

Nyay is the acronym for the Congress’ minimum income guarantee scheme — the Nyuntam Aay Yojana — under which the party has promised Rs 72,000 per year to 20 per cent of the poor, if voted to power.

Asserting that nationalism is not just about sloganeering, but about improving the lives of 1.3 billion people, Modi reiterated the protective layer of the AFSPA would continue to shield security forces, fighting terrorism in J&K. It was a “cause of concern” that the opposition was talking in the “same language as Pakistan”, he said.

“Removing the AFSPA from J&K was the same as sending soldiers to the gallows. I will never let that happen to soldiers,” he said.

On Opposition leaders seeking proof that the IAF strike hit targets, Modi said Islamabad’s behaviour after the action on February 26 morning was a proof in itself.

“When you’re fighting an enemy, this kind of language motivates them, confuses the nation and demoralises soldiers. At a time like this, all of us must speak in one language to boost our soldiers’ pride and to honour their valour. There have been many wars earlier. Did anyone use such language then,” he remarked.

The Prime Minister pointed to the Pakistan Army’s early morning tweet that announced to the world that IAF had struck deep inside Pakistan.

On BSP supremo Mayawati’s call to Muslims to vote for the Bahujan Samaj Party-Samajwadi party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance in UP, the Prime Minister said if such an appeal had been made for Hindus, the “secular brigade” and the “award wapsi gang” would have expressed outrage.

“It was not surprising that Mayawati is making such statements, as she is facing defeat. She is appealing to Muslims to specifically vote for her. This is a matter for the Election Commission to look into.

“I am more worried about the secular brigade. Why are they silent? Had someone made such an appeal to Hindus, they would have expressed outrage. The ‘award wapsi’ gang would have returned their awards and a signature campaign would have started. The biggest threat to India are these people who hide behind the mask of secularism,” he said.

Ahead of the first phase of polling on April 11, Modi expressed confidence that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would return to power with an even bigger majority, riding “a wave across the nation, from the Kutch to the North-East”.

“The BJP will expand its footprint across the country. We will maintain our hold where we had won the most and boost our vote share. Where we lost one or two seats, we will make gains,” he said.