Government does not feel pulse of nation: Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, said Wednesday that the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre was out of sync with the pulse of the nation.

He claimed that the ordinance to shield convicted politicians was only brought in because the government had no notion of the sentiments of the people. The union cabinet on Wednesday decided to withdraw the ordinance.

"The government sitting in Delhi does not know the pulse of the nation, or they would not have brought an ordinance to shield convicted politicians," Modi said at an event here.

"No one wants to vote for criminals. The prime minister was also insulted in such a way that he lost his confidence to talk in the US," Modi said, responding to questions from students at a meeting organised by Citizens for Accountable Governance.

He said the nation wanted clean politics, and a government free of corruption.

An ordinance to shield convicted lawmakers approved by the union cabinet was withdrawn Wednesday. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had earlier publicly opposed the passage of the ordinance.

Asked about his views on secularism, Modi said for him it meant "nation first".

"For some, secularism is a tool to fool people; for me, secularism is nation first." Modi said.

"There is no secularism bigger than a decision which is in favour of the nation. There should be justice to all and appeasement of none. A poor man is a poor man, whether he goes to a temple, mosque or gurudwara," he said.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi said his ideas were of the 1980s.

"The prime minister said something on his way back, his dialogues are of 80s. This is the India of the 21st century, people want development," Modi said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on his way back from the US Tuesday, had said that Modi's "onslaught" needed to be met by "all secular forces" and "one will have to wait for some time before the people realise what they are up against".

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