Defending himself against accusations over the 2002 riots, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has said his government used its “full strength” to “do the right thing” and he had no guilty feeling.
In an interview to the newswire Reuters , he said people had the “right to be critical in a democracy,” but he did not have any guilty feeling. He said he was sad about the riots, adding he would be sad even if a “puppy” came under a car.
“... any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course, it is. If I’m a Chief Minister or not, I’m a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad,” Mr. Modi said to a question whether he regretted the riots.
“Up till now, we feel that we used our full strength to set out to do the right thing,” he said.
“People have a right to be critical. We are a democratic country. Everyone has his own view. I would feel guilty if I did something wrong. Frustration comes when you think ‘I got caught. I was stealing and I got caught.’ That’s not my case,” he said.
‘Clean chit from SIT’
Mr. Modi also contended that the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team had given him a clean chit. “India’s Supreme Court is considered a good court today in the world. The Supreme Court created a Special Investigation Team and topmost, very bright officers who oversee the SIT. That report came. In that report, I was given a thoroughly clean chit, a thoroughly clean chit.”
This is the first interview to a news organisation by Mr. Modi after he was made chief of the BJP’s election campaign committee, an appointment which is being seen as an unofficial declaration that he is leading the party for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
He has emerged as a strong contender for Prime Minister from the main Opposition, though the controversies over the riots refuse to die down.