By Frank Jack Daniel and Nidhi Verma
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Veerappa Moily, oil and environment minister in India’s Congress-led government, told Reuters on Thursday that Narendra Modi, prime ministerial candidate for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, is a “bloated figure” and the country would disintegrate if he is voted to power.
Here are edited excerpts from the interview. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity:
What’s your take on Narendra Modi and what he could offer to the country?
Mr Modi is a bloated figure and ultimately when it comes down to realities, I don’t think he will be a figure who will be counted for the country, forget about becoming prime minister. He cannot contribute any value to the BJP, he cannot contribute any additional value to the NDA (National Democratic Alliance). And no sooner he was declared as a leader, there was a disintegration of the NDA. Many of the important major partners, they just left the NDA … They’ll win Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh or some. They may be solid. With two or three states solidly backing BJP, I don’t think in this country, they can [form] the government.
Do you share Modi’s economic philosophy and ideology?
Unfortunately, what his economics is, he has not specified and he has not said anything new. And Gujarat model cannot be replayed in the entire country. Gujarat people are different, they are the business culture there originally. Even before Modi can come to Gujarat, it was number one in industrialization with the Congress regime. Even Reliance, who put up the largest refinery, they put up the refinery and got land and every clearance only when Congress was there … It is not an inclusive politics. In fact, he is responsible for disrupting the society there.
You’re worried that if Modi were in power, the country would disintegrate?
Yes, yes. He will be a cause for disintegration. We’re disintegrated in Gujarat, he will continue to disintegrate if he is given national responsibility. That is why the people may not venture or risk that kind of a politics or democracy in this country.