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Omar blames Modi for Gujarat riots, exonerates Vajpayee in his first Google Hangouts session

Answering questions during his Google Hangouts session, the tech-savvy chief minister ruled out any possibility of an alliance with the NDA.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2014 16:06 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday blamed BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for the 2002 Gujarat riots but exonerated Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was then Prime Minister.

Answering questions during his Google Hangouts session, the tech-savvy chief minister ruled out any possibility of an alliance with the NDA.

“Our alliance was with Atal Bihari Vajpayee. There is no one else of his stature in the party now,”' he said.

Holding Modi responsible for the Gujarat riots, Abdullah said, “I resigned during the Gujarat riots, but my resignation was not accepted. I believe Modi was responsible for the riots, and not Atalji. And my pressing for resignation would have made him (Vajpayee) responsible, I didn’t want to do that.”

But, he added, “I feel Atalji could have held Narendra Modi accountable,”

Asked what he thought about Modi’s hyped presence on social media, Abdullah said, “His presence is one way – he talks and everybody listens. Modi needs to be more responsive, it looks like he is sermonising people. Some engagement would be better than no engagement.”

The CM also dismissed projections of the exit polls for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, saying the Congress-led UPA had an equal chance of winning as the BJP-led NDA.

“I don’t believe the difference between Congress and BJP as shown by the exit polls is so huge. It can be anybody’s game.”

Listing the achievements of the UPA government, he said the Congress had a more unified agenda that the BJP.

“UPA has implemented schemes that have benefited people, such as food security, health, road development, right to education. But most importantly, the UPA will not divide you to govern you. It will unite to govern,” he said.

Commenting on the Hurriyat and opposition party PDP’s statement that NDA’s performance in Kashmir was better than the UPA’s, Abdullah said, “Statistics speak for themselves, the kind of development that has taken place under the UPA. The number of militant attacks, civilian deaths and militants’ deaths has gone down considerably in the past ten years. We haven’t had the sort of Ramzan seize fire or any big ticket things to show off, but round tables did happen.”

Abdullah said the government had tried to engage the separatist camps in talks.

“They were asked to come forward with what they expect from the talks, something that was achievable, but they never did,” he said.

“If part of the responsibility is of the Government of India, a part of it lies with the Hurriyat and they don’t know what they want to talk about.”