NCP chief Sharad Pawar today said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi cannot escape "moral responsibility" for the 2002 post-Godhra riots notwithstanding the "clean chit" given to him by a court.
Pawar at the same time said he respected the verdict of the court that exonerated the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate in a Gujarat riots case.
"The court has said something that we have to respect. But I also say, if I am a CM of the state, and if something happens like this(riots), I cannot bypass my responsibility, moral responsibility," the Union Agriculture Minister told CNN-IBN.
On being specifically asked whether he believed that Modi had the moral responsibility when riots broke out in Gujarat, Pawar replied," Any CM including Narendra Modi."
On his earlier statement that Modi should no longer be held responsible for the communal violence as a court has exonerated him, Pawar reiterated that decision of the court should be respected.
Pawar also made it clear that his party will not ally with the BJP.
"No. There is no question. We will not ally with the NDA (BJP-led coalition). I have said this 100 times," he said when asked whether his NCP was moving towards BJP in the wake of his remarks some months back that the "Modi 2002 issue" in the context of the Gujarat riots is closed.
Pawar, whose NCP is fighting the Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the Congress, also said that the BJP will not get the magic numbers to form the next government at the Centre "come what may".
"I still feel that BJP won't get the magic number (272 seats," he said, adding therefore the situation whether or not Modi will become the Prime Minister will not arise.
He was asked whether the fact that Modi was the Chief Minister during the Gujarat riots will anyway preclude him from becoming the Prime Minister.
Pawar also said that he will not contest the Lok Sabha polls anymore.
"My priorities have changed. I will not contest for the Lok Sabha. I will be a Rajya Sabha member and will work for development of the party," he said.