New Delhi, Aug. 12: The Congress, which has disdainfully asked “who is Narendra Modi” while waving off the political threat from the BJP’s possible Prime Minister candidate, has now begun responding to every word he says in any part of the country.
After the rebuttal to Modi’s Pune speech last month in which he accused the Congress of donning a “secular burqa” in times of crisis, Gujarat leader Shaktisinh Gohil has critiqued claims he made in Hyderabad yesterday.
Although what caught popular attention was Digvijaya Singh’s sarcastic tweet about India having a “fake desi Obama” in reference to Modi’s “yes, we can” sloganeering, the comprehensive response to his arguments showed the Congress’s counter-strategy.
The Congress has realised that the best way to puncture the hype around Modi is to counter his boastful claims with facts.
A key strategist of the party said: “In Gujarat’s polarised ambience, an objective scrutiny of Modi was not possible. He is deeply entrenched there. But that’s not the case outside Gujarat and we have to tell the people he is making hollow claims.”
At one level, the attempt to treat him with contempt continues. Asked about his Hyderabad speech, spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said: “It would have been better had he read a speech prepared by an Indian team. Ask him who prepared the speech.”
This was a dig at Modi’s Obama-type “Yes, we can” slogan, about which Digvijaya had said “FEKU at his best!” The Congress has nicknamed him “Feku” to counter the description of Rahul Gandhi as “Pappu”.
The Congress has never treated A.B. Vajpayee or L.K. Advani or other senior leaders with such contempt. Senior leaders say Modi has invited this by his acerbic rhetoric and personal criticism of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul.
But the party is now trying to counter him with facts and figures in the development discourse. Terming Modi’s claims as “fake, hollow, shallow and lies,” the statement released by Gohil said: “Modi said he is so concerned about payment, jobs and salary. Why have thousands of fixed-pay teachers had to approach the high court for justice?”
Giving details to prove unimpressive social indices in Gujarat, Gohil said: “Even Odisha has been able to reduce poverty by about 20 percentage points as compared to just 8.6 per cent for Gujarat.”
The statement said it was heartening to hear Modi asking people to go to Madhya Pradesh to check out how the girl child was taken care of, as in Gujarat cops were in jail for killing a pregnant woman (Sohrabuddin’s wife Kauser Bi) and 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan.