New Delhi: Amid insistence by ally JD-U on projecting a "secular" leader as NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate, BJP said Narendra Modi is "totally secular" and sought to justify it by saying no riots took place in Gujarat during his rule.

The party also attacked the Congress saying it was suffering from "Modiphobia" as one of its leaders raked up the 2002 Gujarat riots and drew a parallel with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

"Gujarat has a history of riots in the past. There has been no riot in Gujarat during the last 12 years of Modi's regime. This is a proof of his good governance and his being totally secular," BJP spokesperson Capt Abhimanyu said.

"Congress' efforts to compare the 1984 anti-Sikh riots with the 2002 Gujarat riots depicts that Congress has Modiphobia," he told reporters. He criticised Oil Minister Veerappa Moily for comparing the 1984 anti-Sikh riot accused Jagdish Tytler with 2002 Gujarat riots and said they cannot be compared.

"Moily's comparison of 1984 riots with 2002 Gujarat riots is mere cheating. We criticise the remarks made by Moily," he said. He said the Supreme Court has given its go-ahead for reopening the case against him in the anti-Sikh riots case, while there is nothing against Modi and making such a comparison is unjustified.

"We are surprised that a person like Veerappa Moily, who has good knowledge of law and has been a senior Central Minister, make such a comment," he said, adding, "The whole nation knows that the Congress leaders had a direct role in the Sikh riots."

Capt Abhimanyu said while Congress leaders have been "indicted" by various Commissions appointed for looking into the 1984 riots against Sikhs, there is no indictment or case made out against the Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots that took place in the aftermath of the Godhra incident. Capt Abhimanyu refused to answer queries on JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar not agreeing to Modi being "secular" and said "there has been no such remark made against Modi by Kumar".

To a question on Kumar's objections to Modi's projection as NDA Prime Ministerial candidate, the BJP leader said, "it is a hypothetical question" as NDA had not projected anyone yet. He said Punjab suffered even after 15 years of the riots and no person has yet been held accountable for the "genocide" that killed so many Sikhs.

Capt Abhimanyu asserted that the Congress had "owned moral responsibility" for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots through many statements made by its leaders including former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Moily said in Bangalore that the Congress would not protect anybody and that the law will take its own course on senior party leader Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 riots case.

He however, said the allegation against Tytler was not "as serious" as against the Gujarat Chief Minister who had not taken a single step "to come clean" on the 2002 riots in Gujarat. Moily claimed that the Congress leadership had owned up "moral responsibility" as far back as in 1985-86 itself on the anti-Sikh riots issue.


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