Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of India’s chief opposition BJP, has a talent for springing surprises. Demonised by many for his alleged complicity in the 2002 riots in Gujarat, Modi has written on his blog his first detailed account of his reaction to the communal carnage that still touch a raw nerve in the country. The vicious communal violence, writes Modi, left him “shaken to the core.” He also writes evocatively about his “inner turmoil and shock of being blamed for the very events that have shattered you.”
“I was shaken to the core. ‘Grief’, ‘Sadness’, ‘Misery’, ‘Pain’, ‘Anguish’, ‘Agony’ – mere words could not capture the absolute emptiness one felt on witnessing such inhumanity,” he writes.
Vehemently denying allegations that he did not do much while Gujarat erupted in communal flames, Modi says his government reacted “more swiftly and decisively to the violence than ever done before in any previous riots in the country.”
“As if all the suffering was not enough, I was also accused of the death and misery of my own loved ones, my Gujarati brothers and sisters. Can you imagine the inner turmoil and shock of being blamed for the very events that have shattered you!” he says.
Modi’s vivid portrayal of his inner anguish of “searing sharp intensity” may not cut much ice with his diehard critics who are bound to look at it as a carefully-scripted narrative to burnish his credentials as a national leader who is leaving no stone unturned to challenge the current dispensation in the 2014 elections with his mantra of development and national renewal.
Modi’s blog appeared a day after a Gujarat court upheld a clean chit given to him in the riots that killed around 1,000 people, mostly Muslims.
The court judgement has clearly uplifted Modi’s spirits and inspired him to share what he calls “sharing the harrowing ordeal I had gone through in those days at a personal level.”
Modi, who has been relentlessly excoriated for never saying sorry for the riots under his watch as Gujarat chief minister, says he now feels vindicated that after years of sustained personal attacks, Gujarat has come to epitomise what he calls Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana (peace, unity and communal harmony).
“Gujarat’s 12 years of trial by the fire have finally drawn to an end. I feel liberated and at peace,” he writes.
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