The Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi is “sad” the 2002 Gujarat riots took place but has no guilt, according to a recently published book by British author and journalist Andy Marino. The book also quotes Modi as saying that no court had “come even close to establishing it (his link to the violence in any form)”.
The book also discloses that after the riots, Modi wanted to resign as the chief minister of Gujarat but was prevailed upon by the Bharatiya Janata Party to continue.
The Gujarat chief minister had for the first time shared his side of the Gujarat 2002 riots in December last year, saying he was "shaken to the core" by the "mindless violence".
"'Grief', 'Sadness', 'Misery', 'Pain', 'Anguish', 'Agony' - mere words could not capture the absolute emptiness one felt on witnessing such inhumanity…," he wrote in his blog last year, a day after a court had rejected a petition challenging a probe report clearing him of complicity in the Gulbarg Society riots case.
According to official records, of more than 1,200 people killed in the riots, nearly 950 were Muslims. The riots had erupted following the torching of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra, in which 59 passengers - mostly kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya - were killed.
Though the Gujarat CM suffered 12 years of public “Modi-bashing” since the riots, he decided early on to “let the media do its work; there will be no confrontation”, the book says.
“I never waste my time in confrontation,” he is quoted as saying in the biography written by Marino, who is also a television producer.
Titled “Narendra Modi: A Political Biography” and published by Harper Collins, the book is based on Marino’s interactions with Modi during his political rallies over several weeks.
The 310-page book claims to have dealt with news reports of the riots with the help of “hitherto unpublished, authenticated documents”.
Marino says the BJP strongman confided in him "possibly for the first time in an on-the-record interview that he (Modi) no longer wanted to be the chief minister after the riots because he had decided it was unfair on the people of the state who had been subjected to extreme abuse because of him".