| Venkaiah Naidu
New Delhi, Sept. 12: The BJP and the RSS appeared unfazed by the Supreme Court’s stinging indictment of the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government during a hearing of its appeal filed in the Best Bakery case.
“There is no need for Modi to resign,” BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu said today. “The Gujarat government is an elected government and it will take note of the comments, advice and direction of the apex court.”
“We are not like the jungle-raj governments who do not take note of such things,” he added, apparently referring to Bihar’s ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal and its chief Laloo Prasad Yadav.
The bravado aside, Naidu called on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee this evening, apparently to brief him on the party central office-bearers’ meeting in Bangalore on Wednesday.
But BJP sources did not rule out the likelihood of the two discussing the political fallout of the apex court’s remarks.
The Congress has already demanded Modi’s sack and the clamour is expected to get more strident by the day.
According to sources, Modi spoke to Naidu to ascertain the high command’s “mood”.
The BJP chief reportedly assured him that the party brass was firmly behind him. Any action from Delhi is expected only after the return of the Centre’s chief legal adviser, Arun Jaitley, who is in Cancun.
The court’s observation — asking the government to go if it could not ensure security for the victims of the post-Godhra violence — came a couple of days after Naidu upheld Gujarat as a model of “good governance”. He repeated the claim today.
Confronted with the court’s observation, Naidu said: “You are taking out one sentence. But we (Gujarat government) are able to do justice and we will do it.”
He asserted the indictment was not an embarrassment. “It is the court of the land and if it gives some direction, we have to take it in a positive way. But the court has not given a final direction.”
The RSS pretended the court had said nothing about the Modi government.
“All that the court did was to summon the Gujarat chief secretary and the director-general of police and said they should give their reply to the charges,” RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said.
He described the “rest” as “judicial activism”, arguing the “observations were general in nature and applied to each and every state government”.
“It is the duty of every government, state and Centre, to see the guilty are punished,” he said, appearing to imply this dictum did not apply to Gujarat because “it was not the state government which acquitted the 20 people (bakery accused) but a lower court”.