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Modi ‘worships’ judiciary & lawyers

New Delhi, March 14: Narendra Modi today compared the judiciary to “God” and accused foreign minister Salman Khurshid of disparaging India’s judges and the Election Commission during his London trip.

He rued that a purported “brand ambassador” of the country should hurt India’s image before the world, and said foreigners would now be wary of investing in a country where a Union minister criticises national institutions.

If India is respected the world over, it is only for two reasons: its judiciary and its democracy, the BJP prime ministerial candidate said.

“After God, every individual in India today trusts the Indian judiciary as God. The common man looks at the lawyers and judges as manifestations of God,” he told a group of Supreme Court and Delhi High Court lawyers who had organised an event titled “Lawyers for Modi” here.

Modi’s praise of the judiciary comes at a time several of his aides are facing prosecution in connection with the 2002 riots and the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Ishrat Jahan fake encounters.

Khurshid, who is in London, had on Wednesday described the Supreme Court judgment disqualifying convicted lawmakers as “a judge-made law” and regretted that “important democratic decisions are being transferred to an unaccountable body of people”.

He had suggested that the “broad philosophical approach” of the Election Commission’s model code seemed to be “you should do or say nothing that wins you an election”. But he had added that the commission was a “highly respected” body that had “cleaned up a lot of the ugly warts of our election process”.

“Such remarks are not expected from the minister who, I may remind you all, was also the law minister earlier. If two things the world respects India for, it is its democracy and most reliable judicial system,” Modi said.

“The minister’s statement casting aspersions on the Indian judiciary is highly regrettable. The same minister has also said that the election commission is restricting free speech of politicians. It is unfortunate that such statements emanate from a person who is supposed to be the brand ambassador of the country.”

Modi was late to the event by an hour but the gathering waited patiently. As eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani spoke, the crowd chanted “Modi, Modi” and asked him to stop so that the BJP leader could take the stage.

The Gujarat chief minister spoke for 36 minutes. He accused the Congress of weakening or destroying every democratic institution in the country such as the CBI, Election Commission and the CAG.

“Instead of strengthening these democratic institutions, the UPA government is only weakening them and making them toe its line,” Modi said.

He said he visualised an India where every individual would have his or her own house by 2022. “It will not be just a house, but a house with electricity, taps and water.”

Modi said the year 2022 would be significant for every Indian as the country would be celebrating its 75th year of Independence.