Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi has always been in the news ever since he was appointed as the head of the election campaign of Bharatiya Janata Party which is the main opposition political party of India. However, this time Narendra Modi is in the news all over the country for all the wrong reasons.
In an interview with the Reuters when Modi was asked if he regretted the communal clash of 2002, he tried to compare his feelings to the pain he would suffer if a puppy gets run over by his car. This response evoked widespread outrage from many television news broadcast and political opponents. This furor demonstrates clearly that the wounds of the riots that killed thousands of innocent lives and destroyed countless properties are still not healed even after a decade has passed since it happened.
In response to Modi’s comments, the ruling Congress party held a press conference where they severely criticized Modi’s puppy analogy and also demanded that the CM of Gujarat should apologize to the people of India. The Foreign Minister of India, Salman Khurshid who is also a prominent Muslim figure in the cabinet said that he was deeply pained by Modi’s comment over the 2002 Gujarat riots and that he feels sad and very bad for the country that has people like Modi in a powerful position. On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh, which is home to a major percentage of the Muslim population of India, demanded immediate apology from Modi and threatened him with very harmful repercussions.
Modi’s image had been soaring higher since he was elected the Chief Minister of Gujarat for the third straight term last year. With his latest appointment as the head of the election campaign of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), speculations about him being the next possible prime ministerial candidate of India have gained tremendous grounds. Therefore, at such a time with elections being round the corner, this remark from Modi can be very harmful for his reputation and can even affect his possible candidacy. Being regarded as a Hindu nationalist, Modi has always been alleged that he deliberately encouraged the 2002 riots instead of stopping it, but the Supreme Court Investigation into the matter found no evidence against him for prosecution.
His explanation in response to the outrage of his ‘puppy comment’ where he tried to explain his noble intentions seems to have failed to suppress the critics and the opposition parties. So, it seems like the CM of Gujarat has to try harder to please the people he offended and bring himself in the good books of the common people of India again.