Ahmedabad: Amid talk about Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's projection as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Acharya Dharmendra on Sunday said he wanted "a true patriot" to occupy the country's top post after the next elections.
"I want to see a true patriot becomes next Prime Minister ...I don't think Modi is a traitor...However, we have to see what happens ahead (aage aage dekhiye hota hai kya)," he said when asked whether he would endorse Modi's candidature for the PM's post.
Dharmendra was addressing a press conference after inaugurating a school function here. In reference to Modi's recent reported remarks in Haridwar that he was not a leader of Hindus only, the VHP leader said, "That means he can be a leader of others as well." "But the moot question is, will others like Muslims and Christians accept him as their leader?" the VHP leader added and said, "I don't believe they will accept him."
On the Modi government's move to seek death penalty for former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani and nine other convicts in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, he said, "there might be some political compulsions for this decision."
"Only Gujarat government can answer why they approved such a decision. See, Modi himself is facing accusations, very serious ones. He is also not free from charges."
Strongly opposing the move to seek capital punishment for Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi (a Bajrang Dal leader and one of the convicts), he said, "No one sought death penalty for (accused of) 1984 (anti-Sikh) Delhi riots; not a single case was filed against (former UP CM) Mulayam (Singh Yadav) who killed so many karsevaks in Ayodhya.
"(Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh) Badal is seeking amnesty for (Khalistani terrorist Devenderpal Singh) Bhullar and here death penalty for Mayaben? is it justice?"
"Awarding such a harsh punishment in that (Naroda Patiya) case would be gross injustice," the VHP leader said.