NEW DELHI: Gujarat reeled under communal rioting for almost a period of 3 months, following the death of pilgrims in Godhra after the burning of Sabarmati Express.
Massive riots, mostly targeting Muslims left 1,000 dead and displaced hundreds of thousands and BJP government under Vajpayee was widely and strongly criticised for inefficient handling of the violence.
Shortly after the Gujarat riots, a press conference was held in Ahmedabad with Modi, where a reporter asked what his message for the then Gujarat CM would be.
Vajpayee, in a rebuke, stated that Modi should ‘follow his Rajdharma’ and shouldn’t discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or religion.
“Raja ke liye, shasak ke liye, praja praja main bhed nahin ho sakta hai. Na janam ke aadhaar par, na jaati ke aadhaar par, na sampraday ke adhaar par (A king, a ruler, should not discriminate against the subjects. Not on the basis on birth, not on the basis of caste, not on the basis of religion),” he said in chaste Hindi.
The former Prime Minister, though belonged to the same saffron party, has more ‘liberal’ views.
The 93-year-old BJP veteran breathed his last at 5:05 pm on Thursday, at All India Institutes of Medical Science (AIIMS) following a prolonged illness.
Vajpayee, who led the National Democratic Alliance government from 1998 to 2004, was the first-ever member of the BJP to become India’s Prime Minister.