The conviction of aformer BJP Minister and 31 others in Naroda Patiya riot case of Gujarat on Wednesday gave a handle to Congress to slam chief minister Narendra Modi and demand his resignation but BJP rejected it while downplaying the issue.
"It has been proved now that BJP's minister and officials were involved in the Gujarat riots. Everything that happened was at the behest of Narendra Modi," Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh told reporters in New Delhi.
Union law minister Salman Khurshid also attacked Modi in a veiled manner after a special court in Ahmedabad convicted 32 people, including BJP MLA and former minister Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, on charges of murder and conspiracy in the 10-year-old case in which 90 people from minority community were killed.
"The kind of arguments that have been put forth to defend the indefensible positions, both morally and politically, I think for that a very clear verdict has come," Khurshid said while welcoming the verdict.
Congress MP Jagdambika Pal demanded Modi's resignation.
Gujarat government distanced itself from Kodnani saying she was not a minister when the incident occurred and rejected the demand for Modi's resignation.
"Congress demands CM's resignation in everything, or attempts to link him with anything. If this is the barometer, then those who have been convicted in the past and are ministers in the central government should also resign," Gujarat government spokesman Jaynarayan Vyas.
Commenting on the judgement, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said, "this is just the first court's verdict in the case. This is a legal process. We don't do politics on judicial verdicts".
Asked about Kodnani, he said she had resigned immediately after the chargesheet was filed.
On whether her involvement in riots shows complicity of Gujarat government, Javadekar said, "I don't think so".