Congress sceptical of Modi's 'pain' over riots

Chidu criticises Gujarat CM for not apologising

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s claims of being “shaken to the core” by the 2002 post-Godhra riots has drawn flak from Union Ministers who have said the tragic incident continued to be the weakness of the BJP leader and that he cannot overcome it.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram lashed out at Modi for his mere expression of pain over the 2002 riots. “I thought the Christmas spirit had imbued Modi. Thought he was going to utter the word that thousands were expecting, apology. He did not apologise. I don't think Modi has come to terms with the enormity of what happened. He used many words in his blog but did not apologise,” Chidambaram told a television channel.

On Modi’s attempts to reach out to the victims of the 2002 riots, the finance minister said: “He has not touched the hearts of who suffered. This incident continues to be his weakness and it is tragic that he cannot overcome it.”

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal also attacked Modi for his “belated reaction” to the Gujarat riots and questioned the timing of the comments. “Modi's riot baggage will remain. It is too late for him to express that he was shaken to the core. Had that been so, the core would have reacted in time, not a belated reaction just before the Lok Sabha elections,” Sibal said in a write-up on his website.

Asked if Modi appeared ‘unbeatable’ ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Chidambaram said “no one is an unbeatable force”.

He pointed out the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee appeared ‘unbeatable’ in 2004 but the Congress had come to power.

Chidambaram also favoured the Congress projecting a prime ministerial candidate ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. “...in my view, the party (Congress) should project a person as the leader of the party who will become prime minister if the party forms the government. That is my view, but it is for the party to decide,” he said, adding that in today's parliamentary as well as state elections, voters tend to ask ‘who is the leader.’

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