New Delhi, Jan 7: Contending the sustained campaign to implicate Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots collapsed as it was based on “falsehood”, BJP leader Arun Jaitley Tuesday asked those who had “either perpetuated the falsehood or became victims of the propaganda” to introspect.
In an article on the party website, Jaitley said he had, at a function in Pune last week, referred to several steps towards a sustained campaign to implicate Modi, the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate and how these failed.
Jaitley said the controversies about burning of a coach in Sabarmati Express in Godhra, a so-called interview by Modi and meeting at the chief minister’s house Feb 27, 2002 “had subverted the media debate for almost a decade”.
“It certainly calls for introspection of those who either perpetuated this falsehood or became victims of this propaganda. I have always believed that falsehood falls apart and truth holds together. There can hardly be a better illustration to substantiate this belief than what is stated above,” he said.
Jaitley, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said that speaking in in Pune Jan 4 at the launch of the Marathi edition of book “Modinama” written by academic and activist Madhu Purnima Kishwar, he had sought to clarify on these three issues.
He said in his speech he noted that it was clear that a misguided mob, comprising members of one community, had set the train compartment on fire in Godhra but a “fraudulent attempt” was made by a section of media and certain NGOs to allege the fire started inside.
He said that a leading national newspaper in the first week of March 2002 published an alleged “interview” of Modi seeking to establish he was rationalizing the violence in Gujarat, quoting him as saying every action has a reaction and the post-Godhra violence was one such reaction.
Jaitey said Modi maintained he had never given any such interview and no reporter from the newspaper had ever met him for the interview.
He said the Gujarat government’s statement wasn’t published in the next 20 days by the newspaper and finally appeared in the “Letters to Editor” column with a clarification that the “interview was ‘created’ on basis of comments and replies of the chief minister which had appeared on certain electronic channels”.