New Delhi, May 27: The BJP for the first time sprang to defend Narendra Modi against the Congress’s diatribes without waiting for a prod from the Gujarat chief minister, reflecting the fluid equations and new power centres in the party.
A day after Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari compared Modi with Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbel and said Goebbel’s “soul” had entered the “frustrated” chief minister, BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad retaliated.
Tewari’s reference was to a speech Modi gave in a meeting of BJP workers in Mumbai last Friday. Modi had assailed the UPA government for its “tardy” performance and said its propensity to make promises and offer quick-fix solutions was akin to the advice given by controversial godman Nirmal Baba.
Prasad, in his statement, said: “The Congress-led UPA government has made a mess of the affairs of the country. Comparing the comments of Modi, a senior national leader having a distinguished record of governance as a popular CM, with Goebbel is not only malicious but highly condemnable.”
Prasad maintained that not a single criticism Modi had levelled in his speech against the Centre was “factually incorrect”. “Now even eminent independent observers are saying the same. The data now confirms that the price rise in the last three years of UPA II has surpassed even the record of UPA I,” he said.
Playing on Modi’s pet theme of the Centre eating into the rights and interests of states through policies such as ushering in a goods and services tax regime or planning the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Prasad noted that the “repeated encroachment on the federal principles and the taking away of powers of the state government… are being repeatedly articulated even by the allies and the supporters of the UPA government”.
The “India of 2012” will not accept the language Tewari used because it resonated of the Emergency era, the spokesman said. Comparing Modi “with Goebbel, who was known for his false propaganda, exposes the true colours of the Congress. This kind of language was spoken about only during 1975-76 when India was under Emergency and democratic rights had been suspended.”
Prasad asserted that the BJP would not be deterred by “this baseless, false and malicious reaction”.
In the past, Modi had to prompt and goad the BJP’s central leaders to speak up for issues arising out of a conflict between the Centre and the Gujarat government.