Rajnath washes hands of Gujarat riots, refuses to apologise

Rajnath washes hands of Gujarat riots, refuses to apologise

Calling the 2002 Gujarat riots unfortunate, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Monday refused to even contemplate issuing an apology on the lines of the one delivered by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of Parliament for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Rajnath said the 1984 riots were provoked by Congress leaders, while none of BJP leaders incited the Gujarat violence.

“We have condemned Gujarat riots, so has Narendra Modi. The Congress is the biggest communal party which believes in the policy of divide and rule,” Rajnath said addressing newspersons in Chandigarh on Monday. 

Playing down party patriarch L K Advani’s opposition to Modi’s elevation as the Prime Ministerial candidate before and after the announcement, he said “Modi is the most popular leader in the country.”

Ahead of the prime minister’s visit to New York, the BJP chief asked him to desist from holding talks with his Pakistani counterpart as there was no “hurry” to initiate dialogue given the prevailing conditions.

Accusing the Centre of acting under pressure from the “third force”, Rajnath said India is now seen as a soft state.

“There are reports that the prime minister could meet his Pakistani counterpart in New York. Why such a hurry for talks? The country needs a clarification. What message the government wants to give. When Mumbai terror attack happened, the prime minister  said there would be no talks with Pakistan till it acts against those involved in terror activities,” he said.

Criticising the UPA’s weak defence and diplomatic policies, Rajnath said the government has failed to build adequate international pressure on Pakistan over its repeated ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.  “I am not saying that war is the only option. Why is the government not exercising its option to build diplomatic and international pressure?” he asked.

Earlier in the day, Rajnath told party workers that the BJP cannot be expected to clap like “cheerleaders” in Parliament while Congress-led UPA government is allegedly engaged in corruption.

 The BJP chief also said the party has no plans over the return of former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to its ranks. Yeddyurappa has made overtures towards his former party, expressing confidence in Narendra Modi’s leadership. The BJP leader also said the forthcoming general elections will not be fought merely on the UPA’s failures, but also on the BJP’s vision of a better India.

“The UPA economic policy is in the ICU, currency on ventilator, investors are on the runaway,” he said.

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