Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi should not do in the "rest of India what he did in 2002", union minister Manish Tewari said on Friday in a reference to the sectarian violence in the state.
The information and broadcasting minister said he "often worries at the statement of the Gujarat chief minister" -- the BJP leader had said in Gandhinagar on Thursday that he had repaid the debt of Gujarat and was now being asked by people to repay India's debt, leaving many to speculate that he was eyeing the prime minister's post.
"As someone who believes in the idea of India and the plurality of the Indian ethos and is committed to the founding values of the India constitution, I often worry at the statement of the state of chief minister of Gujarat and hope he does not want to do in the rest of India what he did in 2002," Tewari said on the sidelines of an event here, referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims were killed.
Modi was last week inducted into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentary board, the top decision-making body in the party, which is being largely seen as a a precursor to his being formally nominated its prime ministerial candidate.
Addressing a function in Gandhinagar, Modi had said: "Log kah rahe hain Narendra Modi ne Gujarat ka karz chuka diya hai ab Hindustan ka karz chukane ko kah rahe hain (People are saying that I have repaid the debt of Gujarat and they are now asking me to repay the debt owed to India)."
Taking another swipe at the Gujarat chief minister, Tewari wondered at "the obsession of some people with US visas".
The US has said that Modi, who was denied a US visa for his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, was welcome to apply though there has been no change in the US administration's stand on a visa for him.
Following the visit of a US congressional delegation to Gujarat last week, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Thursday in Washington: "With regard to Mr. Modi, our lines have not changed here. He is welcome to apply."
"All visa decisions are made on a case by case basis, and I'm not going to prejudge it here," the spokesperson added.