Godhra (Gujarat): Attempting an image makeover to get over the riots taint, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took his fast for communal harmony straight to Godhra, the epicentre of 2002 riots, just over a month before the tenth anniversary of the Sabarmati train attack here. READ MORE: Modi criticises PM on malnutrition issue (Agencies)
Modi utilised the platform provided by his day-long fast to assert that it was high time people decided whether they wanted vote bank politics or an all inclusive developmental politics.
He said the six decades since the country's independence has seen political parties resorting to vote bank politics just to gain power. "They are just worried about those who are their potential vote bank," he said after ending his fast.
However, in Gujarat in the last 15 years the government has gone for an all inclusive growth, the BJP stalwart said at the fast venue at the SRP ground in this town which has a sizable Muslim population.
"Now the people of the country have to choose between these two political cultures. One is divide and rule through vote bank politics and other is inclusive growth for development of all," said Modi, the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Hours before Modi's 'Sadbhavna' fast mission meant to promote peace, harmony and brotherhood could begin, Police detained social activist Shabnam Hashmi and five others of NGO Anhad for trying to organise a convention 'In search of Justice' since they did not have permission.
Modi also attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for late realisation of the problem of malnutrition in the country.
"Prime Minster last week expressed agony and pain over the issue of malnutrition in the country and said that it was a national shame. It is shameful that the Prime Minister who is holding such a high post and an eminent economist did not realise till 2012," he said.
"If an academician or a professor had made such a statement, I would have understood but he is the Prime Minister of the country. Merely making comments on the grave situation is not enough since the PM must do something and give a solution," he added.
A former BJP leader Nalin Bhatt was detained from his house in Vadodara early this morning, as he had planned to take out a rally in Godhra against Modi.
As many as 59 persons, mostly karsevaks, were killed when the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express train was burnt near Godhra Railway station on February 27, 2002 triggering the worst-ever riots in Gujarat claiming the lives of 1,500 persons.
Godhra was transformed virtually into a police base camp ahead of the fast. Over 1,600 policemen were deployed along with 50 specially trained Chetak commandos and other unarmed jawans across the town.
The turnout of people from minority community at Modi's fast venue at the SRP ground here was below the expectations of local BJP leaders. Panchmahal district BJP President Jayprakash Patel had said he expected a huge turnout from the minority community in this town.
Few members of the minority community were seen at the venue while couple of religious priests from the community like Gachis and Bohars sat on the stage besides Modi.
Modi arrived at the fast venue here at 11 AM where he was greeted by his cabinet colleagues, local MPs and MLAs, besides BJP leaders and priests of various religions.
Godhra (Gujarat): Attempting an image makeover to get over the riots taint, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took his fast for communal harmony straight to Godhra, the epicentre of 2002 riots, just over a month before the tenth anniversary of the Sabarmati train attack here.
READ MORE: Modi criticises PM on malnutrition issue