Can’t believe Modi responsible for Gujarat riots: Rajnath

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh Wednesday said his party was a secular party in which no communal person could survive and asserted that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi could not have been responsible for the 2002 riots.

Coming out in defence of Modi, widely perceived to be the party’s man for the prime minister’s post in the coming Lok Sabha polls, Rajnath Singh said no chief minister could provoke anarchy in his state.

“I have been a chief minister myself, so on the basis of my experience I can say no chief minister wants any anarchy or law and order problem in his state. I cannot believe he (Modi) would have provoked any law and order problem. I cannot even imagine a chief minister would provoke riots,” the BJP president told journalists at the Indian Women’s Press Corps.

“BJP is the most secular party, no communal person can survive in BJP,” he said.

He also recalled former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s comment on the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination but did not name him.

“After the Hindu-Sikh riots, a senior leader who is no more and I will not name him, said when big trees fall, the earth shakes,” Rajnath Singh said.

Asked about Modi’s comment after the Godhra riot that every action has a reaction, the BJP president said the comment was not verified.

“It was not verified that Narendra Modi said that. The comment has been refuted by him,” he said.

Modi had reportedly said after the riots that every action has a reaction. The riots in Gujarat started after the Sabarmati Express train was attacked in Godhra, killing Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya.

Asked if the induction of Modi in the parliamentary board was any indication of his claim to the top post, Rajnath Singh said: “We inducted him in the parliamentary board because he is the senior-most chief minister.”

“Modi has never asked me to bring him in the forefront. He never said make me the prime ministerial candidate,” he said.

He also reiterated that any decision on the prime ministerial candidate of the party would be taken only by the parliamentary board at the “right time”.

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