Senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue M.G. Vaidya on Saturday defended Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over his controversial remarks on the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Speaking to reporters here, Mr. Vaidya said: “Narendra Modi has said the right thing. He called himself a Hindu nationalist, which is not wrong. We are also Hindu nationalists. He did not compare Muslims killed in Gujarat riots with a puppy killed by a car. He said he feels sad even if a puppy comes under the wheel of his car. I don’t think he said anything wrong. It was misconstrued because of lack knowledge of the language and a result our preconceived notions.”
Lashing out at the Congress, the former RSS spokesperson said: “The Congress always speaks of 2002 Gujarat riots but what about the Godhra incident in which 57 kar sevaks were burnt alive? The riots were just a reaction to the Godhra incident. People talk about reaction, not about action. Only Gujarat riots are talked about, but the fact is that more Sikhs were killed in Delhi riots than Muslims killed in the Gujarat riots. At the time of the Delhi riots, Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, but no one demanded his resignation.”
Mr. Vaidya pointed out that no one had led the Gujarat riots, “It was people’s reaction. People of Gujarat are known to be of a peaceful nature but they were enraged. If at all you have to blame someone, then it has to be the administration. Modi being the Chief Minister can be blamed for not controlling the riots in time, but he did not lead any mob or instigate riots like Jagdish Tytler or Sajjan Kumar. The SIT also gave him a clean chit.”
Asked if it was correct on the part of Mr. Modi, who is being considered a potential prime ministerial candidate of the BJP, to make such statements, Mr. Vaidya said: “He has not been declared the prime ministerial candidate and they [BJP] will not do it [declare the PM candidate]. They will declare it at the right time and the parliamentary board of the BJP will take a decision in this regard.”