Reiterating his stance on Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Nationalist Congress Party chief and Union Agriculture Sharad Pawar said the Gujarat Chief Minister could not escape “moral responsibility” for the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

Mr. Pawar has denied that some of his recent statements indicated a soft approach towards Mr. Modi.

Mr. Pawar said a situation where Mr. Modi became the Prime Minister would not arise, as the BJP “would not win enough numbers”.

Ruling out an alliance between the NCP and the BJP, Mr. Pawar made a distinction between judicial exoneration and moral responsibility for the 2002 riots. “The court has said something that we have to respect. But I also say, if I am a CM of the State, and if something happens like this [riots], I cannot bypass my moral responsibility,” the Minister told CNN-IBN.

“No. There is no question. We will not ally with the NDA. I have said this 100 times,” he asserted when asked whether his recent statement that the “2002 issue” should be closed indicated a willingness to move closer to the BJP.

‘BJP won’t win’

The NCP is fighting the Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the Congress. Mr. Pawar said: “Come what may”, the BJP would not have enough numbers to form the government at the Centre. “I still feel that the BJP won’t get the magic number,” he said.

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