Asserting that Narendra Modi had come through the toughest public and judicial scrutiny of the 2002 riots, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Monday said an apology was being demanded from the Gujarat Chief Minister by those who were running a “fake campaign” against him.
“Those asking for an apology from Mr. Modi wanted it to be an act of confession. They know there is not a shred of evidence against him. If he has actually committed a wrong, then why apologise, he should have been prosecuted and punished for it,” Mr. Jaitley said, replying to questions by foreign journalists during an interaction here.
Asked why Mr. Modi had not apologised for the Gujarat government’s failure to control violence, Mr. Jaitley said: “We can squabble over the kind of expressions one wants to use but to satisfy a fake campaign against him, he does not have to apologise. These voices are coming from those who are in campaign mode against him.”
The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said Mr. Modi had voiced his concern over the violence and put in place a system to prevent recurrence of riots.
“The past 12 years have been very peaceful in Gujarat and everybody, including Muslims, has progressed under Mr. Modi’s rule.”
Asked what steps the BJP planned to dispel the unease among minorities about the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Mr. Jaitley said the party had been able to establish a relationship of comfort with the minorities, be it Sikhs in Punjab or Catholics in Goa.
“So far as Muslims are concerned, we are also concerned about issues like equality, economic progress, security and non-discrimination. Mr. Modi has repeatedly said that the Constitution will be the primary document for governance. The efforts of our opponents to create a scare and to provoke the minorities are not working.”