Gujarat riots: VHP’s Praveen Togadia in power then? Arun Jaitley says, ‘Modi was certainly new to governance’

Asked about Sardesai’s thinking that it was VHP’s Praveen Togadia who was more in power than Modi…

Speaking at a book launch, FM Arun Jaitley defended the then Gujarat government headed by Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) CM Narendra Modi over the 2002 riots on Friday.

The FM was speaking at the launch of a book ‘2014: The Election That Changed India’ written by journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.

“How is Gujarat government responsible for the initial Godhra violence? Godhra violence was an incident at a railway station where some misguided people went and burnt a train bogey and therefore that is what sparked off a riot across the state,” he said replying to question and stressed the state had utilised its full machinery.

“You had cases to that affect being investigated. You had various kind of inquiry. You had an unfriendly government in power at the Centre for at least 10 years, which did everything to find and fix responsibility on Modi. It was not able to do so,” Jaitley said.

Asked about Rajdeep Sardesai’s thinking that it was VHP chief Praveen Togadia who was more in power then than Modi who had taken over only a few months before the riots, Jaitley said “he (Modi) was certainly new to governance”.

The Finance Minister said the violence was so widespread that the state machinery was “completely insufficient”.

“Now if there is one in which police has fired more on the rioters and people who were rioting more than any other riot is this country , more than 1984, it was in 2002,” he said.

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