New Delhi: Only right-wing Hindutva leaders can guarantee the security of Muslims in India, BJP leader Uma Bharti said Sunday, as she defended Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, facing fire over handling of 2002 riots in his state.
"Only right-wing Hindutva leaders can be the saviour of Muslims and guarantee their security. Only we can instill confidence and erode fear from the Muslim psyche," Uma Bharti told a TV news channel.
"The so-called secular brigade has failed to secure the community. It`s important to win their trust, if not their votes," the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.
Uma Bharti, the firebrand "sanyasin" and a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, who recently returned to the team of central office-bearers of the BJP, defended Modi, saying there has been no exodus from Gujarat post-2002 riots.
"There was no Muslim exodus from Gujarat after the riots. People are at peace with themselves and enjoying the fruits of development. Let`s not do a body count of riot victims on basis of religion. Hundreds of Hindus died in police firing during the post-Godhra riots. This negates allegations about Modi`s complicity in the violence," she claimed.
Her full-throttle support can also be gauged from the fact that she even couched then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee`s much-publicised admonition of Modi to follow `raj dharma` as a spur-of-the-moment reaction to a journalist`s query.
"Atalji is a spontaneous speaker. I was with him in Gujarat in the tense weeks following the riots. Vajpayee`s call for morality was no criticism of Modi. It was no advice, no call to Modi to redeem himself. He just blurted it out," she said.