Gujarat CM’s I-Day ‘politics’ finds few takers

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to denigrate the sanctity of the Independence Day by his election speech in Bhuj is not going down well among political parties. While the Congress hit back at him for indulging in “petty politics”, even the regional players, including non-Congress CMs, have not come out in his support so far.

Mr Modi, the BJP’s election campaign committee chief, chose Independence Day to project himself as the PM candidate, thereby giving a clear message that the BJP chief, top brass of the saffron party and its parliamentary board will now have to complete a formality of announcing his name. The Congress and the regional parties in the UPA, NDA and outside are watching developments in the BJP, especially Mr Modi’s tactics, strategy and the style of political discourse.
It is unclear whether the RSS approved of Mr Modi’s attack on the PM in his speech.
While Mr Modi is becoming impatient for the early announcement of his name as the BJP’s PM candidate, the Congress is cautious on this issue. This became clear when Congress chief Sonia Gandhi refused to take any questions ranging from issues like food security to the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress for next Lok Sabha polls at the AICC headquarters here on Thursday. “Today I will only say Happy Independence Day to all of you,” was her response.
She hoisted the tricolour in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior ministers and party leaders.
Mrs Gandhi also distributes sweets among children on the occasion.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders Salman Khurshid, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Digvijay Singh, Ambika Soni and Ajay Maken disapproved of Mr Modi’s attack.
Mr Digvijay Singh said Mr Modi’s lust for becoming the Prime Minister had crossed all limits.
“No chief minister has ever used such words against the Prime Minister on Independence Day. I think, at this point of time, we all should be united to work for India’s progress,” he said.
Union minister Khurshid said Mr Modi is “so restless to become something big in the country” that he forgets that this is a day when political differences are forgotten.
To a question about Mr Modi comparing his speech with that of the Prime Minister, Mr Khurshid said it was a case of “tall talk by a person with small stature (chhota munh badi baat)”.
“Petty politics must not be allowed...”
“Prime Minister will come last. Let him debate with us first,” he said.
While Mr Khurshid advised Mr Modi to desist from “patting his back”, another Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad sought to dismiss attempts of comparison between Mr Modi and the Prime Minister by quipping, “If today I say that I am bigger than (Barack) Obama, people will call me mad.”
Mr Azad also referred to a Hindi proverb to reject any comparison between the Prime Minister and Mr Modi, wondering, “How can any CM give a challenge to PM. Where is the comparison between raja Bhoj and Gangu (Teli)...” He added, “Who has stopped anybody from giving a challenge. Sitting in one’s home everyone is a tiger...”

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