New Delhi: As the PM gave his first reaction on sensitive issues like Dadri lynching and the move to stop Pakistani musician Ghulam Ali’s Mumbai concert on Wednesday, the Shiv Sena, amid its widening chasm with the BJP, termed the PM’s comments as “unfortunate”, reminding him of the post-Godhra Gujarat riots while he was chief minister for which “he is known”.
In comments that may not go down too well with the BJP at a time when the estrangement between the two, who share power in Maharashtra and at the Centre, is growing, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Mr Modi “is known and respected due to Godhra and Ahmedabad”. The 2002 riots are a sore point in Mr Modi’s otherwise remarkable political career.
“The world knows Narendra Modi due to Godhra and Ahmedabad, and we respect him for the same reason. If the same Narendra Modi has called the controversy surrounding Ghulam Ali and (former Pakistan minister) Khurshid (Mahmud) Kasuri unfortunate, then it is indeed unfortunate for all of us,” Mr Raut said.
The Prime Minister, commenting on his party’s stand (on such incidents), said in the interview that the “BJP never supported such kind of incidents. The Opposition is raising the bogey of communalism against the BJP (over) those incidents, but are they themselves not doing politics of polarisation?”
He added: “Such debates have taken place in the past. The BJP always opposed pseudo-secularism. Now again this debate is taking place in the face of (an) unfortunate social malaise. This debate can be resolved through dialogue and discussion.”
Mr Modi said the parties that were resorting to such propaganda did not want the minorities to enjoy the fruits of development, and saw them as a votebank.
The Congress, accusing Mr Modi of selective amnesia and not taking appropriate action in the wake of the Dadri lynching, said it was not posturing that was needed but concrete action.
“Narendra Modi is suffering from selective amnesia. He has forgotten that he is the Prime Minister of the entire country, and protecting the life of the 125 crore citizens of India is his responsibility,” said Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala. The party also asked if the PM had spoken to Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav after the incident.