New Delhi : Supporters of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi thwarted then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who wanted Modi to quit over the 2002 communal violence, according to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Shourie.
In an interview to NDTV news channel, Shourie alleged that the party almost “orchestrated a coup” against Vajpayee over Modi’s future when the BJP national executive met in Goa in 2002.
Shourie recalled that the BJP had made up its mind to sack Modi following the 2002 violence that left over 1,000 people dead. Most victims were Muslims.
Shourie claimed that party veteran L.K. Advani was to ask Modi to quit at the Goa meeting but things turned out to be quite the opposite.
Shourie, who called Modi prime minister material in the run-up to this year’s Lok Sabha elections, said: “It was definitely decided that when we get down (from the plane in Goa), Advaniji will ring up Modi and say in the (national executive) … offer to resign.
“(The) meeting starts, speeches start� Atalji and Advaniji are sitting on (the) stage. Modi got up and said ‘mujhe kuch kehna hai (I want to say something)’ and he offered to resign.
“He said ‘I don’t want the party to face difficulties because of me’.
“As if on cue, people from different parts of the hall started saying — absolutely no, absolutely no, said ‘ke koi galti nahi hai’ (Modi has done no wrong),” Shourie went on.
“I was sitting at the deck, Jaswant Singh was near, Yashwant Sinha was on the stage. Atalji, Advaniji were on the stage.
“I saw Atalji’s bewilderment because he thought it was a done deal. That it was almost like an orchestrated coup against him.
“I got up and said what Narendra Modi has just said is in pursuance with a decision that these senior leaders have taken in the flight, I was myself present.
“But immediately, the chorus started and eventually Atalji or the president said that ‘abhi toh public meeting ka samay ho gaya hai, kal decide karenge (we will decide tomorrow, it’s time for the public meeting)’�
“The crowd said ‘no, no, no, nahin hoga.’ So there is absolutely no doubt and I can give you more details that Atalji was completely thwarted.”