Coming out strongly against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen yesterday said he does not want him to become India's prime minister as he does not have secular credentials.
The prominent economist also criticised Modi's model of governance saying he did not approve of it.
"Yes, I don't want him," Sen told CNN-IBN in reply to a question on whether he wanted him as his prime minister.
"As an Indian citizen I don't want Modi as my PM ... He has not done enough to make minorities feel safe," he said.
Despite proving himself as a very successful chief minister, Modi remains a highly divisive figure in Indian politics over allegations that his government did nothing to stop the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Some 2,000 people mainly Muslims were killed during the month-long unrest, according to rights groups. One of Modi's former ministers was jailed for life for instigating the killings but several investigations have cleared Modi of personal responsibility.
On being asked why he did not want so, Sen said, "He could have first of all been more secular and he could have made the minority community feel more secure."
"I don't think the record is very good. I think I don't have to be a member of the minority in order to feel insecure ... We Indians don't want a situation where the minority feel insecure and could legitimately think that there was an organised violence against them in 2002. I think that is a terrible record and I don't think Indian prime minister as an Indian citizen ... Of who has that kind of record. No, I do not."
Sen said physical infrastructure in Gujarat may be good but Modi has not done enough for minorities or for the majority. He also said that the Gujarat model needs to do much more on the health and education sectors and bring equity.
He said Modi could have made the majority community feel that they are not maltreating the minority and going against the long Indian tradition of being tolerant.
BJP recently anointed Modi as chairman of its election campaign committee. He is widely believed to be the party's choice for the prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
And BJP President Rajnath Singh yesterday virtually anointed Narendra Modi as its man to the top job after he ruled himself out of the prime ministerial race.