The Gujarat unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has expressed readiness to bring Maya Kodnani back to active politics. According to a report in The Indian Express, state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani welcomed the High Court verdict in the Naroda Patiya massacre case and said that ‘according to her (Kodnani) willingness, the party will use her’. “She has been our worker in the past, she is one even today and tomorrow. She keeps on working as a worker. The BJP uses all its party workers and we will also use her as per her desire,” he told reporters on Friday.
The Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case. The court said that there was an absence of sufficient proof of her presence at the crime scene. The HC, however, upheld the conviction of Bajrang Dal activist Babu Bajrangi, who was sentenced to imprisonment for life by the trial court.
Kodnani, a former BJP minister was one of the key accused in the riot case and was convicted by a special SIT court in August 2012. She was sentenced to 28 years in imprisonment. In 2002, when the massacre had taken place – one of the worst incidents of violence during the riots, Kodnani was a BJP MLA. She went on to become a minister in the BJP government headed by Narendra Modi in 2007. She resigned after being arrested in March 2009 in connection with the case.
Vaghani also took a dig at the Congress, saying the grand old party is trying to tarnish the image of the judiciary. “It is a judgement in nine volumes. Still, the Congress leaders don’t want to believe it,” he said. He also blamed the Congress for arraigning Kodnani in the case, saying ‘the Congress wrongfully involved our former minister’.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel too said that Kodnani will be given an active role in the party if she wishes to continue. He also took the opportunity to blast the Congress for defaming the party. He said that Kodnani was wrongfully implicated in the case. “After the Gujarat High Court acquittal, she has been found innocent,” he said.