NEW DELHI: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s “burqa (veil) of secularism” remark targeting the Congress today drew a stinging response from the ruling party which said it was much better than “naked communalism”.
The Congress also sought to puncture the claim of BJP’s election campaign chief on the issue of development in Gujarat, saying the state during Modi’s tenure lagged behind on several development indicators.
“We will have to respond if the Chairman of the campaign committee of the BJP resorts to disinformation campaign and makes factually incorrect statements,” AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken said, a day after Modi came down heavily on the Congress and the central government on various issues including the state of economy, development and corruption.
“The burqa of secularism is much better than naked communalism. While communalism divides, secularism binds,” Maken said.
Modi had yesterday charged Congress with wearing the “burqa (veil) of secularism” and “hiding in a bunker” each time it is confronted with a crisis.
Accusing Modi of presenting ‘erroneous’ and ‘false’ figures, Maken said that a person, who has “not been able to serve his own people properly” and “failed” in his own state has no business telling the whole country what to do.
Drawing parallels from the achievements in Gujarat during Modi’s tenure and the NDA rule at the Centre, Maken said the performance of the UPA was much better in all fields including GDP growth, tourism and education.
“I want to ask him what did he do in Gujarat that he keeps touring the whole country trying to give lessons to youths,” he said, adding that only a handful from Gujarat won medals in Olympic and very tourists visited the state in ten years since Modi was Chief Minister.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the choice before people was an inclusive India or an India which is sectarian.
“The vision of the Congress party is pluralistic and inclusive. And the vision of the section of the opposition has been sectarian, majoritarian and communal right from the beginning,” Tewari said. -Referring to the ‘puppy’ analogy that Modi had used in a recent interview, Tewari said that he had been thinking for the last two days as to what should be done if a puppy comes under the car.
“Would you step out of your car, would you take it within your embrace and possibly rush him to Friendicoes to see that if you can help him to heal or will you reverse your car and crush him again? And for a person who would choose the latter option, I leave it to your judgment, as to how you would define him or her,” he said.
Asked about the conflicting statements emerging from senior Congress leaders on whether the party was planning to project Rahul Gandhi as its Prime Ministerial candidate, he said, “There are certain people who are interested in pushing an agenda and do not understand the basic fundamentals of the function of the Congress Party.
“Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson of the UPA, we have a young leader in Rahul Gandhi, who the youth identifies and empathizes with and this is the trinity which would lead the Congress in 2014,” Tewari said.
“So I would like to beseech you, do not raise ghosts and slay them and consider yourself as a superman,” he said.-PTI