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Centre, state riot rift

New Delhi, Nov. 27: Prime Minister’s principal secretary Brajesh Mishra has made a distinction between the role of the Central and the state governments in the riots in Gujarat after the Godhra incident.

“It was not the Centre that allowed it (the rioting) to happen,” he said in an interview with BBC World.

Mishra argued that the Centre had tried to do everything possible to contain the riots. “Although the violence was on a large scale in Gujarat, it did not spread to other parts of the country,” he said.

He recalled that the NDA government had condemned the violence and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had described the rioting as a blot on the nation. It is well-known by now that Vajpayee continues to disapprove of the inaction of the state government during the riots and subsequently in organising relief and rehabilitation measures.

What seems to have blotted his record, however, is the defence he made of chief minister Narendra Modi and his communal criticism of Muslims in a public speech during the Goa conclave of the BJP. Therefore, Mishra was right when he said that the Prime Minister had never said that the Modi government should go.

As expected, Mishra claimed that the Vajpayee government would last its full term. He admitted that some people did not want him in the position he occupied but said: “I will go whenever the Prime Minister wants me to go.”

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