A day after an Ahmedabad court accepted the Special Investigation Team’s closure report giving clean chit to Narendra Modi in the Gulberg Society massacre case, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday demanded an apology from the Congress for carrying out a "vilification campaign" against him after the Gujarat riots.
The opposition party accused the Congress of "building castles on complete falsehood" through a hate campaign against its prime ministerial nominee Modi.
The Congress only discussed the 2002 riots in Gujarat and avoided talking about all other communal riots in the country, including 10 in the state under Congress chief ministers, in which over 1,000 people died, claimed the saffron party.
"The Congress should apologise to the nation, and Modi in particular, for carrying out a personal vilification campaign for more than a decade. It is the worst kind of persecution that one can imagine," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, adding that the verdict had vindicated Modi and proved his innocence.
The BJP leader said Modi would emerge even stronger despite his repeated persecution at the hands of the Congress, whose "Emergency-like mindset" would backfire.
"The court verdict nails the falsehood in the bud. The Congress, in collaboration with pseudo-secular fidayeens, continued with its 'Target Modi Campaign' with the help of disgruntled officers and other elements. This campaign should stop now," he said.
The party also criticised Congress for its response to the verdict, saying that this showed how it (Congress) undermined various institutions of the country, including the judiciary.
Javadekar accused the Congress of hatching a conspiracy and filing a complaint against Modi by "misusing" Zakia Jafri's name.
Congress and its "friends" like social activist Teesta Seetalwad tarnished Modi's image, but he (Modi) has now come out unscathed, the BJP leader said.
"Congress must realise that such hate campaigns do not live long; tt will backfire," he said.
Meanwhile, in Jammu, BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman said, "If the Congress is critical of it, let us not forget that the SIT was monitored by the Supreme Court. It is the SIT's report which went to the magistrate's court in Ahmedabad. Therefore, if the Congress is critical of it, we need to understand that they are critical of the decision by the Supreme Court, the SIT and the magistrate."
"Are they (Congress) questioning the courts of India," she asked, and added that "This way they want to prove that they have been questioning, challenging and undermining institutions of the country".
On the Centre's decision to set up an inquiry commission to probe the ‘snoopgate’ in Gujarat, Javadekar said the Congress has been "unsettled" after realising that it faces a complete rout in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, and therefore launched the probe.
"This probe is illegal and against the federal structure of the constitutional arrangement. This probe has been ordered without due diligence and without seeking information from the state government," he said.
Speaking on the matter, Sitharaman said, "The formation of the commission is driven by political considerations. It has been appointed with political purposes rather than to look into the truth. We think it is a continuation of the political vindictiveness or a kind of witch-hunt against the Gujarat
"The so-called snoopgate allegations which are actually coming to the public domain is some kind of sting and investigative journalism without casting aspersions on individuals," she said, adding, "These are the very same people who were probably part of the cottage industry indirectly supported by the Congress party to keep the propaganda going on against the chief minister of Gujarat".