New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley today said his party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has been able to overcome a sustained campaign against him over the 2012 Gujarat riots in which a section of the media had also targeted him.
He said there was time when a major section of the media was also involved in targeting the Gujarat Chief Minister. “But he had the capability to go over the head of the media and directly communicate with the people where your views are believed more than what is being said against you,” he said.
Delving into the past, he said soon after the Godhra incident, a campaign had started to project that the coach carrying kar sewaks was not put on fire from outside, but the flames had erupted from inside the compartment.
“The first aspect of the conspiracy against Modi was to prove somehow that anti-nationals did not start the fire and nothing happened at the (railway) station. The fire erupted inside the compartment. A section had started to propounder this make belief theory from day one,” he said blaming a section of media and some NGOs.
He was speaking at the launch of a book ‘Narendra Modi – a victim of manipulations’ here.
The Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha also slammed the findings of the Justice U C Banerjee Committee on the incident, saying it was the “most disgraceful” chapter in Indian history.
Jaitley said the committee tried to prove that the fire started from inside the coach. “Falsehood has many versions, but truth has only one version….The report is now consigned to the dustbin,” he said.
He said the claims made by IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt about a meeting at Modi’s residence have been rejected by others present there.
“Hundreds were killed in police firing in Gujarat. It shows that the police was on the job. No one has been able to tell the number of people killed in police firing in 1984 riots,” he said in an apparent attack on Congress over the anti-Sikh riots.
The BJP leader said the findings of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT have demolished the conspiracy theories against Modi.
Though Modi did not offer any categorical promise to traders on their charter of demands, he referred to BJP’s pro-trader image to offer them assurance. BJP’s Manifesto Committee head Murli Manohar Joshi, who was also present, will take their legitimate concerns into account, he said.
Lauding the risk-taking ability of traders, which he said is more than that of a soldier, Modi said government must help them spread the influence and reach of India across the globe.
He said Ministry of External Affairs still worked in an old way, focusing on diplomacy and intelligence gathering. “Trade is the biggest tool of spreading your influence across the world… MEA should instead focus on trade and commerce.”
He said there is a need to develop a spirit that whether it is government or traders, farmers or society, we are all working for the country. “If this spirit had developed, then there would not be any bribe-giver, nor bribe-taker. From PM to peon, the whole government needs to undergo overhaul.”
When his party comes to power, a lot of work will be required to “fill the potholes” created by the 60 years of poor governance, he said.