Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar threw a sharp dart at Narendra Modi, the BJP’s choice for prime minister, declaring that the 2002 riots in Gujarat “can neither be forgiven nor forgotten.”
Mr. Kumar ended his 17-year alliance with the BJP last year over its decision to elevate Mr. Modi to its top campaigner. Like other detractors of Mr. Modi, the Bihar chief minister alleges that the BJP leader should be held accountable for the communal violence that lacerated Gujarat during his first term as its chief minister.
Last month, a court in Gujarat upheld a Supreme Court investigation that cleared Mr. Modi of allegations of complicity in the riots.
Mr. Kumar was asked to comment on Bollywood superstar Salman Khan who said in a recent interview that in his opinion, Mr. Modi need not apologize for the riots since he has been legally cleared of the charges against him.
“It cannot be forgotten or forgiven” Mr. Kumar professed.
The BJP has alleged repeatedly that Mr. Kumar’s stand on its leader is for public consumption only and is aimed at pleasing the 15 per cent Muslim population of Bihar, on whose support he is heavily dependent.