Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Modi remark sparks Congress, Left reproach

Accusing Gujarat chief minister of playing to the gallery in view of the forthcoming assembly elections in the state, leaders from Congress and Left parties came down heavily on Narendra Modi for his interview to an Urdu weekly earlier this week.
    HRD minister Kapil Sibal said, “Let the CM allow an FIR to be lodged in any police station in Gujarat.”
    CPM general secretary Prakash Karat echoed the charge, saying, “First there must be a fair investigation into the 2002 riots.”
    Modi had said in the interview conducted by former Rajya Sabha MP and Samajwadi Party worker Shahid Siddiqui that he should be hanged if found guilty and rebutted the charge of personal complicity in the large-scale killing of Muslims in the post-Godhra communal riots.
    He said he wasted no time in calling in the Army to deal with the violence, citing a press communiqué issued by the state government to buttress his contention.
    However, Modialso refused to offer an apology for the 2002 communal violence. TOI was to first to report this in its edition dated July 26.
    “On February 27, I told my officers to contact the Army. The Army said all their personnel were deployed at the border because of the Parliament attack…I said those working in certain sectors would definitely not have gone to the border. At least get them here,” Modi told Siddiqui.
    The Gujarat CM, whose perceived failure to curb the violence is widely believed to have contributed to BJP’s shock defeat in 2004 general election, said he had given “shoot-at-sight” instructions to police to tackle the rioters. The Hindutva hardliner denied the charge that he prevented policemen from rushing to the rescue of Muslims, adding the Congress government at the Centre would not have spared him if charges leveled against him were indeed true.
    To a question that he had ordered inaction for 48 hours, Modi said, “Whoever said that should have faith in the SC. You need to repose faith in someone. The SC appointed committee has come out with a report. For the first time a riot was investigated. Faith should be reposed in that.”
    The comments, coming from someone who seemed to revel in his strongman image, are significant and underline an attempt at image correction to enhance his acceptability in the lead up to the 2014 parliamentary polls.

In 2004, I had... said why should I apologize. If my govt had done this, I should be hanged in public in such a way that it remains a lesson for the next 100 years...