Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has received much criticism over the 2002 post- Godhra riots, on Friday said questions over communal peace in his state will remain till he is alive.
"I can say this with great pride that after 2002 no riot has taken place in Gujarat. There has been not a single day of curfew. Earlier, riots used to take place during kite festival, cricket matches...," Modi said.
But at the same time he admitted that there was 'no guarantee' that people will agree to his assurance on peace in Gujarat. "This programme (issue) will continue till I am alive," he said.
He was replying to questions on the 2002 riots and whether he could assure that there will be no repeat of the violence in the state at the 'India Today Conclave' in New Delhi.
"The records of communal riots in Gujarat is available from the year 1736 onwards. No month used to pass off without a curfew. It had become a part of life in Gujarat...there was no riot after the Akshardham temple attack (2002), the state was peaceful even after the Ahmedabad bomb blasts (2008) which left scores dead," he said.
He said with the prevailing situation in the state, "You can be rest assured that Gujarat is a peaceful state focussed at development."
Asked whether he is responsible for what he has been accused of in the 2002 riots, he said it would be inappropriate to comment on the subject as the matter was before the Supreme Court.
"The Supreme Court-appointed SIT has asked me all the questions which I have replied. As a responsible citizen it is my duty not to say anything on the subject," he said.
He refused to comment on what 'time frame' he has set for himself to become the Prime Minister.
"Whatever reply I give will attract a controversy, therefore you can take the reply which suits you," he said. He also rejected suggestions that he has invested a lot in his image.
"I have not spent even a minute on developing my image...I have only worked for the betterment of my state..." he said.
To a question on Centre-state relations, he said the federal structure has borne good results in the last 60 years, but lamented the "encroachments" by the Centre due to "political reasons".
"...We were served an Income Tax notice. If this continues, it will become difficult...it should not happen," he said referring to the notice served on his government on the MoUs signed during the Vibrant Gujarat summit early this year.
Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi