New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was well known for taking long pauses while speaking, and this style of his was used by the anti-Modi lobby in Lutyen’s Delhi to twist his remarks and attack the then Gujarat Chief Minister in 2001 in the aftermath of the Godhra riots.

After the Godhra riots rocked Gujarat, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had gone to the State for reviewing the situation. He was addressing a press conference when a woman journalist asked him about his message to the chief minister on the riots.

“For this chief minister, I have only one message that he should follow the Raj Dharma (duty of a ruler) … the word is very useful. I am following that… trying to follow it. For a king or ruler, he cannot discriminate between his subjects on basis of religion or caste,” Vajpayee said.

At this point, Modi, who had just taken over as the Chief Minister interjected saying, “We are doing the same, sir.”

At this, Vajpayee, who used to speak with long pauses, said, “I am sure that Narendra Bhai is also doing the same.”

However, the Lutyen’s lobby distorted the comments of the former Prime Minister, giving a twist to the story, saying that Vajpayee wanted Modi to resign as chief minister for failure to control the riots in the State!

The first half of the Prime Minister’s statement was played again and again where he was shown saying that the chief minister should follow his raj dharma while the other half where he said that he was sure that Modi was doing the same was removed.

For many years, the edited portion of the video was used to show that relations between Vajpayee and Modi were strained, as the former did not agree with the then Gujarat chief minister’s brand of politics.

However, it was only after the video came out, the context of the remarks made by Vajpayee became clear and the complete picture could be seen by people.