Guj riot was example of bad governance: Parrikar

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE, NEW DELHI | 20 June 2013 21:14 IST

Days after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was named the BJP's 2014 poll campaign panel chief, the party's Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar has said the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat were a "clear-cut" case of "administrative failure" and "bad example of governance".

But he sought to shield Modi saying he "may not have had that kind of grip on the administration as he has now".

In an interview to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta for NDTV's Walk the Talk programme, Parikkar cited the Gujarat chief minister's governance record and argued he was the best bet for the BJP now.

He said while issues such as corruption and price-rise do figure in elections, "people put maladministration or lack of governance as the first issue as they feel corruption, price-rise and non-decision-making is all because of non-governance...obviously the solution for people is to have a person who is capable of delivering governance".

He said there was no "question mark" on governance in Gujarat in the last 10 years. "Maybe Godhra is a blot...I will not defend it."

"But not defending it does not mean you put the blame on a particular person. The administration collapsed. Everyone got polarised including the administration. You don't have to blame only the leader. And Modi probably at that time had just taken over the administration. He may not have had that kind of grip on the administration as he has now. It was only four months," he said.

"I will put it as a clear-cut lack of administration and administrative failure, a bad example of governance. This is my personal opinion," Parikkar said and added that Modi has ensured such incidents did not recur. "How can you say that killing of 2,000 people can be a good example of governance?

Asked whether Modi has learnt his governance lessons, Parikkar said: "Obviously, every experience counts." Modi, he added, "did not know how to take a grip on the administration" as he was new.

Parikkar said the BJP had to take a decision on Modi's elevation as indecision was one charge the party always hurled at the government.

 

He said the "common people and party cadre" alike felt Modi should be the face of the campaign. Parikkar said his attempt was to break the "logjam" and "break the ice in the party over Modi's anointment and noted that his "job is done".

Parikkar said he told the party to take a decision at the national executive in Goa this month or at least set a timetable for taking a decision.

Also, in remarks that assume significance following the crisis veteran BJP leader L K Advani triggered by quitting all party posts, Parikkar said that politicians should review their health and mental condition when they turn 65 and decide on continuing in electoral politics.

Politics, he said, has become very demanding but stressed that he was making a general comment and was not referring to any individual.

"Politics has become politics of demand. People expect a lot from you. At 65, every politician should take a call and review his health and mental condition. Whether he can take that pressure based on his health and take his own decision whether he should be in electoral politics," Parikkar said.

"Because, if you are not good in health, you should not go for electoral politics because then you don't serve the people and don't reach their expectation, they will get frustrated...I am saying only for electoral politics, you can still be in party politics."

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