"Without questioning the validity of India's democratic election process, it is crucial to remember the role played by the Modi government in the horrifying events that took place
in Gujarat in 2002," says an open letter signed by author Salman Rushdie, sculptor Anish Kapoor and filmmaker Deepa Mehta.
The letter was published in 'The Guardian' newspaper here headlined as: "If Modi is elected, it will bode ill for India's future."
The other signatories include Homi K Bhabha from Harvard University artists such as Dayanita Singh and Vivan Sundaram, art historian Geeta Kapur and British MPs like Mike Wood and Fiona Mactaggart.
The letter adds: "Although some members of Narendra Modi's government are now facing trial, Modi himself repeatedly refuses to accept any responsibility or to render an apology."
"Such a failure of moral character and political ethics on the part of Modi is incompatible with India's secular constitution, which, in advance of many constitutions across the world, is founded on pluralist principles and seeks fair and full representation for minorities.
"Were he to be elected prime minister, it would bode ill for India's future as a country that cherishes the ideals of inclusion and protection for all its peoples and communities.
Senior officials of the BJP reacted angrily to the open letter.
"These comments are prejudiced, biased and some of these people have entertained a pathological hatred towards Mr Modi for years," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, deputy leader of the party.
"The BJP has grown in spite of their opposition for so many years and the Left has gone down in spite of their support because the people of India trust in Mr Modi and the BJP to save India from all ills that India is suffering," he said.
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