Rising Hindu nationalist seeks moderate image with fast

September 17, 2011 11:15

NEW DELHI - A pro-business Hindu leader who some think could be India's next prime minister began a "harmony" fast on Saturday to soften his image that was hurt by religious riots that claimed hundreds of mostly Muslim victims nearly a decade ago.

Seizing the moment after the Supreme Court referred to a lower court a case in which he was accused of complicity in the 2002 violence, Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat state, is using a three-day fast to depict himself as a moderate.

"My three-day fast is not against anyone," Modi, wearing a white turban, told supporters as he entered an air-conditioned hall in Ahmedabad, capital of Gujarat, where he will conduct his fast.

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