Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi walked out of an exclusive interview with Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's “Devil's Advocate” because he was questioned about Godhra. Narendra Modi walked out of the interview less than five minutes after it started in Gandhinagar on October 19, 2007. Here's an excerpt from the interview.
Karan Thapar: Hello and Welcome to Devil's Advocate. Does the Chief Minister of Gujarat have an image problem and can he win another election and become the Chief Minister again? Those are the two key issues I shall explore today in an exclusive interview with the Chief Minister himself Narendra Modi.
Mr Narendra Modi let’s start by talking about you- In the six years that you have been the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Rajeev Gandhi foundation has declared Gujarat to be the best administered state. India Today on the two separate ocassions declared that you are the most efficient Chief Minister.and despite that people still call you to your face a mass murderer. and they accuse you of being prejudiced against Muslims? Do you have an image problem?
Narendra Modi: I think it's not proper to say that people. There are two are three persons who talk in this terminology and I always say God bless them.
Karan Thapar:You are saying this is the conspiracy of two or three persons only.
Narendra Modi: I have not said so.
Karan Thapar: But you are saying it’s only two or three people.
Narendra Modi: This is the information I have. It's the people's voice.
Karan Thapar: Can I point out to you that in September 2003 the Supreme Court said that they had lost faith in the Gujarat government. In April 2004 the Chief Justice of Supreme Court said that you were like a “Modern Day Nero” who looked the other side when helpless children and innocent women were being burnt. The Supreme Court seems to have a problem with you.
Narendra Modi: I have a small request to make. Please go through the Supreme Court judgment. If there is anything in writing, I'll be happy to know everything.
Karan Thapar: There was nothing in writing. You are right. It was an observation.
Narendra Modi: If it is in judgment, then I'll be happy to give you the answer.
Karan Thapar: But do you mean a criticism by the Chief Justice in court doesn't matter?
Narendra Modi: It's a simple request. Please go through the court judgment. Hand out the sentence you are quoting and let the people know it.
Karan Thapar: O’k. It wasn't just an open comment made by the Chief Justice. In August 2004 the Supreme Court reopened 2100 cases out of a total of 4600, almost 40 per cent and they did so because they believed that justice hadn't happened in Gujarat.
Narendra Modi: I'll be happy. Ultimately, the court of law will take the judgment.
Karan Thapar: But isn’t this the reason that despite the fact India Today called you the best Chief Minister Rajeev Gandhi foundation says Gujarat is the best administered state. People say Modi is prejudiced against the Muslims. This is why I ask you do you have an image problem?
Narendra Modi: Actually I have not spent a single minute on my image. and that can also be a reason. I am busy with my work. I am committed to Gujarat. I am dedicated to Gujarat. I never talk about my image. I never spent a single minute for my image. And, confusions may be there.
Karan Thapar: I'll tell you what the problem is even five years after the Gujarat killings of 2002. The ghost of Gujarat still haunts you. Why have you not done more to allay that ghost?
Narendra Modi: This I gave it to the media persons like Karan Thapar. Let them enjoy.
Karan Thapar: Can I suggest something to you?
Narendra Modi: I have no problem.
Karan Thapar: Why can't you say that you regret the killings that happened. Why can't you say may be the government should have done more to protect them.
Narendra Modi: What I had to say, I have said at that time and you can find out my statements.
Karan Thapar: Just say it again.
Narendra Modi: Not necessary I have to talk about in 2007 everything you want to talk about.
Karan Thapar: But by not saying it again, by not letting people hear the message repeatedly you are allowing an image contrary to Gujarat to continue. It's in your hands to change it.
Narendra Modi: I'll have to rest. I need some water.
Karan Thapar: Pani.
Narendra Modi: Dosti bani rahe.bas. I'll be happy. You came here. I am happy and thankful to you. I can't do this interview. It's okay your things are. Apne ideas hain aap bolte rahiye aap karte rahiye. 3-4 questions. I've already enjoyed… nahin, please.
Karan Thapar: But, Modi Sahab
Narendra Modi: Nahi, please, Karan.
Karan Thapar: But Modi Sahab
Narendra Modi: Karan dekho main dostana sambhand rakhna chahta hoon, aap usko koshish kariye.
Karan Thapar: Mujhe ek cheez samjhayee, sir. I am not talking about doing anything wrong. I am saying why can't you correct your image?
Narendra Modi: This is not the time. Uske liye aap mujhe 2002 mein mile hote 2003 mein mile hote mein sab kar leta. (Courtesy: IBN.com, October 20, 2007)