‘Vajpayee wanted to sack Modi after Guj riots’

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar slammed Gujarat CM saying that his mishandling of Gujarat riots cost BJP power in 2004.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Intensifying the war of words between BJP and JD-U, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday slammed Gujarat Chief Minister saying that his mishandling of Gujarat riots cost BJP power in 2004.

According to media reports, he said that Modi had failed to keep the Raj Dharma during the riots. The JD-U leader also said that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not happy with the Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and wanted to replace him in 2002.

Reacting to the debate triggered by his secular PM remarks, Nitish Kumar said, “I have said what I have to I stick to my stand on ‘secular’ PM.”

Earlier today, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat backed Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as NDA`s Prime Ministerial candidate and slammed Bihar CM Nitish Kumar for saying that NDA should have a secular PM nominee.

Raising Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar`s pitch for a secular prime ministerial candidate for 2014 elections, JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari also said this morning that BJP will have to decide whether it wants to form a government or remain in the Opposition as the country is not in favour of a "fanatic face".
"BJP had realised in 1996 itself that they cannot form a government in the country on the basis of their hardcore Hindutva agenda and, hence, NDA was formed after it agreed to drop the three contentious issues of Uniform Civil Code, withdrawal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and construction of Ram temple," he said, maintaining that the changed stance had the backing of RSS.

In reply to a question, Tiwari said JD (U) will not compromise on the secular framework based on which it had become a part of NDA. "We will not compromise whether our government remains in Bihar or not," he said.

Tiwari said that few postpoll surveys had pointed out that had the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee "dismissed" the Narendra Modi government after post-Godhra riots, the NDA would not have lost the 2004 general elections.

He said while Vajpayee had asked Modi to follow the `Raj Dharma` and wanted the government to go, the move was "vetoed" by BJP leaders like LK Advani.
"People who voted for BJP due to liberal face of Vajpayee went away from it after Gujarat riots and the floating votes went to Congress because people do not accept fanatic politics," he said.

"Those people in BJP who want the party to come to power will have to realise that they cannot do it by putting a fanatic face in the front," Tiwari said in an apparent reference to Modi.

Reacting to Tiwari`s statement, BJP leader Balbir Punj said, "This is a needless controversy. Nobody has a right in this country to give fatwa as to who is secular and who is not. People have their opinions."