Congress flays ‘Modi as PM’ remarks, BJP plays it down

January 15th, 2009 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra ModiNew Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) The ruling Congress criticised as “highly insensitive” remarks by two corporate heads projecting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as prime minister material, while an uncomfortable Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to play down the praise for their party leader.”It is utter insensitivity of these people (the corporate bigwigs). How can you endorse someone whom even the Supreme Court did not believe to have conducted a fair election and investigations (into the 2002 Godhara riots)?,” questioned Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari here Thursday.

He was referring to Reliance’s Anil Ambani and Airtel’s Sunil Mittal describing Modi as India’s generation next leader during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit in Ahmedabad Wednesday.

Tiwari said the track record of a person should be checked before endorsing them, and the businessmen were endorsing a person who has been accused of “as heinous a crime as the Gujarat riots”.

Meanwhile, the BJP Thursday played down the Indian corporate honchos’ praise for Modi and the subsequent move by a section in the party to project Modi as the prime ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Describing Modi’s ability to attract more than Rs.12 trillion investment for Gujarat as a “matter of a pride” for the BJP, party spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said every chief minister of the party was capable of attracting more and more investments in their states.

When asked about the corporates’ support for Modi as the next leader, Rudy said Indian democracy never allowed corporates to decide the prime minister of the country.

“It doesn’t happen,” he added.

He said the corporate world has hailed L.K. Advani’s capability to become prime minister during meetings of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Ficci and Assocham.

“It is an acceptability by the corporate world that the BJP’s state and central leaders are capable. Yes, the BJP has capable leadership at the centre and states,” he said.

Rudy said all party chief ministers were inspired and guided by the former BJP government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and leaders like Advani.

The comments by the industrialists has triggered a pro-Modi campaign by his followers in the BJP who maintain Modi is the best choice to lead the NDA alliance in the Lok Sabha polls than the octogenarian Advani.

Meanwhile, the Congress’ Shakti Singh Gohil, leader of opposition in Gujarat, termed Modi’s Vibrant Gujarat business meet to be a “complete fraud”.

“It (Vibrant Gujarat) constitutes a number of multi crore scams. Modi is only obliging industrialists at the cost of the people of Gujarat. For example, the Tata group has been given over Rs.2,000 crore (Rs.20 billion) for its Nano project at a surprising minimal interest rate of 0.01 percent,” Gohil said here.

He alleged that big industrial houses were being favoured at the cost of small industries.

“In the last 11 months, nearly 62,000 small and medium industries have shut down. The diamond polish trade has also faced huge losses forcing at least 15 people connected with the trade to commit suicide in the past two months,” Gohil claimed.

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