Modi likens Rahul to ‘aquarium fish’, Congress calls him ‘piranha’

February 22nd, 2009 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra ModiNew Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The war of words between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress grew shriller Sunday, with Modi likening Congress MP Rahul Gandhi to “small fish” in an aquarium, and the Congress retorting by describing him as a “piranha who devours human beings”.
Modi, addressing a poll rally in Goa, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders like him and his counterparts in states ruled by the party are like “ocean fish” who weather big storms, unlike those “floating around in aquariums”.

In an obvious dig at Rahul Gandhi, the 38-year-old Congress general secretary who is being projected as a youth icon by the party, Modi said: “We are not small fish floating around in the comfort of aquariums, but we weather huge storms to win.”

“We are not flowers cultivated by gardeners of the rich, we have grown up in the forests on our own,” Modi said, asking: “Which young people are they talking about?”

He continued: “Aren’t there young people living in the slums and in the homes of poor? But they are not considered young for their fathers are not rich, because their fathers were not prime ministers or their mothers are not big people.”

Modi claimed that compared to the Congress, the BJP had younger chief ministers.

The Congress reacted sharply to Modi’s “fish” remarks, with spokesperson Manish Tewari saying in New Delhi: “If Rahul is a fish in the aquarium, then Modi is a piranha who devours human beings.”

He was referring to the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat when hundreds of Muslims were killed and the state government was accused by rights activists and victims of having a hand in it.

He said Modi had no right to speak about the poor, for unlike Rahul Gandhi, he had never spent a day in a Dalit’s shanty. “The chief minister of Gujarat has lost it completely,” remarked Tewari.

He said the “Congress party has a history of empowering the youth; it is not a new development.”

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