Saying "change is in the air", BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has said a government headed by him "will go the extra mile" to give justice to all and a dispensation "where nobody needs to be apprehensive or fearful".
In detailed responses to an e-mail interview , Modi said a BJP-led NDA government led by him will be "result-oriented", will not hesitate in taking decisions, will work day and night and will be a "truly representative, transparent and sensitive government".
He said he was confident that the "BJP and NDA may end up doing better than the best predictions among all opinion polls", adding that his priority, if he comes to power, will be to "restore confidence in the government, bring back credibility in the system and take effective steps to bridge the trust deficit that exists today".
Modi, seen as a strong contender for the nation's top administrative job, said he expects the party's performance in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, where it has traditionally not been very strong, to be "the real surprise in these elections". "We expect to do very well in these states," Modi said in the interview in which he responded to range of questions that were sent to him over two days and on which, his aides said, he personally deliberated and responded, working late in the night on halts in Ahmedabad between cross-country campaign forays.
To a specific question as to how he would address the fears of the minorities, particularly Muslims, about his government, Modi said: "We are committed to provide a government where nobody needs to be apprehensive or fearful. We are committed to go the extra mile to ensure that not only are we fair and just, but that we are also perceived to be fair and just."
To another question about opposition charges that riots may break out during a Modi government's tenure, he riposted that "today's India no longer responds to such fear-mongering" and some people were "spreading insecurity to get votes".
About how different a BJP-led NDA government was going to be from the UPA, Modi said: "Our approach is going to be drastically different from the UPA's approach. The UPA government's approach was a legislation-based approach wherein they would just try to wish away problems by legislating against them. It was wishful thinking at best and lazy governance at worst. "You cannot solve serious problems of poverty and unemployment by just coming out with pieces of legislation without backing it up with a concrete action plan to implement the provisions," said the Bharatiya Janata Party veteran. "Our focus is going to be on time-bound implementation of various initiatives, where priority would be given to reviving the economy and growth," Modi told IANS.
He said his government would "revive investor sentiment and start taking decisions to clear various pending investment proposals". "Our focus is going to be clearly on infrastructure and the manufacturing sector. It will not only encourage investment, but will also produce the required employment opportunities."
To a question on a possible Modi cabinet, he said the BJP had enough talent and experience, particularly naming Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively, in "bringing important issues to the notice of the people".
He said the "single biggest achievement" of the Lok Sabha election campaign has been "to move away from a feeling of cynicism and pessimism to a feeling of hope and optimism". He blamed the opposition parties "staring at defeat" for indulging "in abusive language which has reduced the discourse of the campaign by several notches" but refused to apportion any blame to his own people.
Modi said: "I think it is their (opposition) single-minded focus on somehow attacking Modi and stopping him which has brought a lot of support from the people of India to me."
"Then you (people of Bengal) will have 'rasgulla' in both hands. Let Modi also work for Bengal and Didi also work. Let the difference be known, let there be a competition. Lets see who works better, we will get to know who is a real tiger," the BJP prime ministerial candidate said.
Criticising the law and order situation in the state, he said West Bengal was among the top three states in the country with high rate of atrocities against women.
"Where there is a government of 'paper tiger' (in Gujarat), there mother-daughter are safe," Modi said.
Speaking at a rally in Asansol later, Modi alleged that a scam took place in the selection of teachers in government schools of West Bengal.
He said in Gujarat, he had introduced online application system to eliminate any corruption.
"This is what a paper tiger has done. Why is the Royal Bengal tiger steeped in corruption?" he asked.
Modi also alleged that Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress make friendship in Delhi but claim enmity in Bengal.
"Didn't they eat in the same plate in UPA-1 government? In Delhi they do the politics of friendship," he said.