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Narendra Modi cannot be blamed for 2002 riots: Rajnath

Statesman News Service |

Press Trust of India
New Delhi, 1 September
Describing the 2002 Gujarat riots as “unfortunate”, BJP President Rajnath Singh today said it was unfair to blame Narendra Modi for the incidents, even as he reached out to the Muslims, assuring that his party was ready to sort out any “confusion” over its approach towards them.
“Who does not agree that it was unfortunate? Attempts were made to blame Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as if the riots were planned by him,” he said.
Mr Singh talked about his personal interactions with Mr Modi. “He looks so sad…what is wrong with the people? Is this politics?,” the BJP president asked referring to charges that Mr Modi was behind the riots.
Addressing BJP’s Minority Morcha’s National Executive meeting here, he said people should ask the muslims of Gujarat whether they feel discriminated against under the BJP rule.
“I want to say if there is any issue or confusion, then we can find a solution by talking to each other. When there is no scope to talk to each other, then problems can arise. Wherever there is a mistake, we will correct it,” Mr Singh said seeking to reach out to the muslims ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, due next year.
Mr Singh’s remarks on Modi came a day after party leader Mr Arun Jaitley said that there should be no controversy over the issue of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate as that would be akin to committing a “hit-wicket” and turn out to be the only possible reason for the main Opposition losing the upcoming general elections.
The leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha had indicated that Mr Modi should be declared as the BJP’s PM candidate.
“Whether the Congress adopted any other policy of the British or not, they adopted their divide and rule policy. The Congress and some other political parties have tried to sow the seeds of division in the country,” Mr Singh said.
He admitted that members of the minority community working for BJP find it difficult to propagate the party’s policies among people due to the perception that it was against taking minorities along.
“This perception is far away from the reality. We do not indulge in such politics,” he said.
BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the party would soon come out with a vision document on minority empowerment which would elaborate its stand on education, security and prosperity of the minorities and also their participation in governance.
“Our particular focus is on socio-economic and political empowerment. If we come to power at the Centre, we will bring out a report with details of the promises made to minorities of the country. I know that the vision document will not change the outlook of the Muslims towards the BJP but we have to make an honest effort from our side,” said Mr Naqvi. He said Muslims are aware of the fact that the Congress is responsible for backwardness, un-employment, poor-economic and social conditions of the community.