Rahul blasts Modi for abetting riots

Rahul blasts Modi for abetting riots

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday held the Gujarat government led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi responsible for the 2002 communal riots and also admitted that “some Congressmen were probably invol­ved” in the massacre of Sikhs in 1984.

In an interview to a TV channel, Gandhi initially avoided a direct reference to Modi but later said the BJP leader was at the helm when the post-Godhra riots occurred.

The 43-year-old Gandhi scion said while in 1984 the Congress government tried to stop the anti-Sikh riots, the government in Gujarat was “actually abetting and pushing the riots further”. Asked to explain his comments as Modi was given a clean chit by courts, Gandhi said: “I mean it’s not me...it’s the large number of people who were there, large number of people who saw actively the government of Gujarat being involved in the riots.”

However, Gandhi offered no apology for the 1984 riots. “First of all, I wasn't involved in the riots at all. It wasn't that I was a part of it. I think that riots, as all riots, are horrible events. Frankly, I was not in operation in Congress party,” he said.

The Congress leader, who has taken a strong stand against corruption, appeared to sidestep questions on alliances with the RJD, whose chief Lalu Prasad was imprisoned last year in the infamous fodder scam case. “These decisions of the Congress party are made by senior leaders,” he said. When prodded further, Gandhi said the Congress’ alliance in Bihar was with a political decision and not an individual.

He appeared to avoid a direct reply to questions on allegations of corruption against former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbahdra Singh. “If there is any corruption by any Congress person, we will take action,” was Gandhi’s refrain. He went on to elaborate on the six anti-corruption legislations that were pending before Parliament and the need to have them passed.

Gandhi spoke at length on drafting the youth into party work and giving them power. “I want youngsters to come in and really, really push democracy in the party. I want to empower them and I want to make India, together with everybody,” he said.

On Modi’s persistent reference to him as “shehzada”, Gandhi said he did not choose to be born in the family. “You have to open the system. Dynasty or children of politicians becoming powerful happens in the BJP, it happens in the DMK, it happens in the SP, it happens in the Congress party, it happens everywhere."

Rahulspeak

*  It’s the large number of people who... saw actively the Government of Gujarat being involved in the (post Godhra) riots

* These decisions of the Congress party are made by senior leaders — On his anti-graft stance and the Congress' alliance with Lalu Prasad, convicted in a scam

* What's different between us and them is that we have structure — On the AAP

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