New Delhi: Former RAW chief A S Dulat's remarks on the 2002 Gujarat riots triggered a fresh war of words between Congress and BJP, with the former demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the latter terming the issue as "totally irrelevant".
BJP today accused Congress of raking up "dead issues" for its "political survival" and said it raises the 2002 riots issue whenever it cannot find anything else to say.
The political slug-fest erupted in the wake of Congress latching on to claims by former RAW chief AS Dulat to demand that Modi "respect the words" of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and offer an apology to the country.
BJP, however, insisted that every court had investigated Modi's role and found nothing against him and added that the opposition party raises the 2002 riots issue when it can find nothing else to say.
"I think time as well as all that has happened have made that question completely irrelevant. Congress has used every method and every strata of the administration, as well as the courts and every court, including Supreme Court, has done 10 years or more of the most thorough investigation... And found nothing against the present honourable Prime Minister.
"In fact, Congress should apologise for raising questions about his integrity," said BJP spokesperson M J Akbar.
Congress spokesman Ajoy Kumar launched a scathing attack on Modi, saying "Dulat says that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee believed that he lost the 2004 elections in view of the Gujarat riots...Bharat Ratna Vajpayee has clearly condemned ...The shameful incidents of 2002."
Kumar said it was Vajpayee who had reminded "Chief Minster Modi to follow raj dharma".
"Will Narendra Modi respect the words of the Bharat Ratna and apologise to the country for 2002?" Kumar asked.
The handling of the Gujarat riots by Modi has been at the centre of a controversy.
Launching a counter-attack on Congress, Akbar said that if a thorough investigation was undertaken into the riots under Congress rule, many of its leaders would not be in their homes.
"Indeed, it occurs to me that if, on the riots under Congress, one-hundredth of the investigations had taken place against those who are responsible, a lot of VIPs would not be in their homes," he charged.
BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma also accused Congress of raking up "dead issues" for its political survival saying, "Congress is devoid of issues and is trying to borrow them and rake up dead issues."