By Manava Samskriti
03 March, 2005
his silence over two years after stepping down from office, former president
K R Narayanan has criticised former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
for his handling of the post-Godhra situation in Gujarat and accused
the Bharatiya Janata Party of stalling a second term for him.
did not do anything effective. I had sent him letters. I had talked
to him directly," Narayanan said in a freewheeling interview to
Congress MLA P T Thomas carried in a recent issue of Malayalam magazine
Claiming there was
a conspiracy involving the state and central governments behind the
2002 Gujarat riots, he said if the military was given powers to shoot
at the perpetrators of violence, recurrence of violence in Gujarat could
have been prevented.
"I had asked
military to be sent to suppress the riots. The Centre had the constitutional
responsibility and powers to send military if the state government asked.
The military was sent. But if the military was given powers to shoot
at the perpetrators of violence, recurrence of tragedies in Gujarat
could have been avoided. However, both the state and central government
did not do so," Narayanan said.
He said the BJP
came in the way of his becoming president for the second time, fearing
that he would intervene in the implementation of their "hidden
agenda," especially in the sphere of education.
"The BJP government
had hidden agenda in many areas, including education. Securing the reins
of education to spread their ideology was their aim. I had intervened
in the appointment of certain vice-chancellors. Those, including Murli
Manohar Joshi (the then human resources development minister) had resentment
about that," the former president said.
were democratic and constitutional. Above all, the interests of secularism
was involved," he said.
"They had received
legal advice on the possibility of my intervention if I continued in
president's office. At a certain stage, they told me that they had decided
not to support anybody for more than one term in the posts of president
and vice-president. Their aim was to get rid of me and they carried
out that mission quite efficiently," he said.
have thought that it would be difficult for them to lead the government
with a person ideologically poles apart occupying the office of the
president," he said.
that when he was approached by the Left parties with the suggestion
for a second term in the office, he had asked them from where he would
get the required support to win.