AHMEDABAD (AFP) - Controversial Indian Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi began a fast Saturday to promote goodwill in what was seen as a bid to project himself as a potential candidate for premier. My mission is to spread peace, goodwill and brotherhood, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi said at the start of his three-day fast attended by top fellow leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Ahmedabad, Gujarats main city. Modi, arguably Indias most polarising political figure, is seeking to put behind him allegations of complicity in deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002, analysts say. The makeover attempt is seen by commentators as grooming him into a prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections in 2014. The silver-haired leader, 61, told the crowd he was seeking to promote communal harmony. In a full-page letter published in Saturdays newspapers, he said no state, society or individual can claim to be perfect and that he was grateful to all those who pointed out my genuine mistakes. He made no apologies for what human rights groups have condemned as his lax response to the massacre of as many as 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, during communal riots which swept the western state in 2002. At the same time, he told the audience which included political and religious leaders and some Muslim traders, I feel the pain of all the families who lost their near and dear ones. Modi, who has always denied any wrongdoing over the riots, got a major boost earlier this week when the Supreme Court refrained from passing any order on a petition seeking his prosecution over the riots. But Congress party leaders in Gujarat, some of whom embarked on a parallel fast on Saturday, dubbed Modis actions a political stunt. There are serious allegations against Narendra Modi. He is just trying to whitewash his communal image but no one can forget and forgive the mistakes he has committed, said senior Congress politician Shanker Sinh Vaghela. Vaghela and his fellow party leaders began their three-day fast on Saturday in Ahmedabad that they said was to expose Modis injustice. During the last decade, Modi has become a torchbearer of corporate good governance with his state posting annual growth of more than 11 percent in recent years and attracted major international investors. His staunch anti-corruption reputation has made him increasingly popular among many Indians as the Congress-led national government is mired in multi-billion-dollar graft scandals. He consistently figures among Indias most popular chief ministers in opinion polls. Modi is on a fast to Racecourse Road, said prominent Indian media commentator Suhel Seth, referring to the prime ministers official residence in New Delhi. The protest fast, used to historic effect by Mahatma Gandhi in his fight against British rule, has made a comeback in India among activists seeking to pressure the government on a host of issues. A spate of high-profile fasts mainly focusing on corruption have garnered national attention in recent months and posed a public relations challenge to the graft-tainted coalition of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Last month, veteran activist Anna Hazare embarked on 13-day fast in New Delhi, drawing nationwide support and forcing the lawmakers to commit to passing tough anti-corruption legislation. This is the first time a politician is fasting. Narendra Modi should be the next prime minister. Hes not corrupt and is now apologising for his mistakes, said Rajiv Patel, a 37-year-old cotton trader in Ahmedabad.