Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has again caused flutters in the party with remarks that the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat were a "blot" on Narendra Modi's career though he was not personally part of it.
"There were many reasons why people lost control in 2002 after the dead bodies (of Hindu pilgrims from an earlier attack) were shown on TV. It should not have happened. The administration should have clamped down on any violence, (if I were in his place) I would have ensured.
"But Modi was new to the job as chief minister. It was a blot on Modi's career, but he was not personally a part of it. If he is guilty by connivance he should be punished. But investigations have given him a clean chit. People who oppose him do so because they fear him," Parrikar told a freelance journalist whose interview has been carried by The New York Times.
"India is a Hindu nation in the cultural sense. A Catholic in Goa is also Hindu culturally because his practices don't match with Catholics in Brazil except in the religious aspect, a Goan Catholic's way of thinking and practice matches a Hindu's," he said in an interview.
The chief minister, known for making frank comments, said the Gujarat violence "does not require his apology" but "correction" and he has done that.
As his remarks stirred a controversy, Parrikar, who had hosted the Bharatiya Janata Party national executive in Panaji this summer in which Modi was declared the BJP campaign committee chief for the Lok Sabha polls, told the media that he sticks to what he has said in the interview which he said should not be read in bits and pieces. “Read the interview lock, stock and barrel", he said.
The Goa chief minister had created a controversy once when he had equated L K Advani with rancid pickle.