On the eve of his 72-hour fast beginning Saturday, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Friday sent out the first signal of his willingness to reach out to the minorities.
"I am grateful to all those who pointed out my genuine mistakes during the last 10 years," he said, adding that the "pain of each and every citizen of the state" was his pain as well.
"Indian history is a witness that (sic) casteism and communalism have never done any good to society. This is also my own firm conviction. Gujarat has understood this and having overcome these evils, it has adopted the path of inclusive development," Modi said in his second open letter .
"No state, society or individual can claim to be perfect… I seek blessings to serve the people with devotion free from all human shortcomings," he said.
In his first open letter to all, Modi had announced his fast as part of a goodwill mission, which was seen as his first attempt to change his image from that of a hardline Hindutva leader. Blog: Modi's air-conditioned fast
He decided to undertake the fast after the Supreme Court recently directed the trial court to decide on the 2002 Gujarat riots case, including his role, on the basis of the report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Modi on Friday took another dig at NGOs and activists who have been fighting cases for riot victims.
"During my fast, I will pray to the Almighty to give me strength so that I don't develop or retain any ill-feeling or bitterness towards those who defamed Gujarat or me by making false allegations," he said.
His Congress rival, Shankersinh Vaghela, will be fasting to protest against Modi's.
Modi's move received support from AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister
J Jayalalithaa who deputed two senior MPs to represent her party to express solidarity with him.
Modi was a special invitee to Jayalalithaa's swearing in as chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the third time on May 16.
She had also hosted a dinner for Modi, an honour she reserves for a select few.
Her support to Modi comes at a time when he is seeking pan-India acceptance as a national leader with higher political ambitions and a strain in relations between her rival DMK and the Congress.
DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan said, "This only shows her saffron leaning and Hindutva credentials."
Key BJP ally Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said he will be present along with senior BJP leader LK Advani on the first day of Modi's fast.