| L.K. Advani with Narendra Modi at a rally in Gujarat. (PTI)
Ahmedabad/Delhi, April 1: L.K. Advani has refused to be dragged into the controversy over Narendra Modi’s intemperate remarks on Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul.
“I do not want to get into that,” the deputy Prime Minister said. But he added that “political speeches should be political’’, implying that the Gujarat chief minister’s speech was not so.
Addressing a public meeting in Patan with Advani, Modi described the Congress president and her son as “a cow and a hybrid calf”. He was quoted as saying: “The Congress symbol used to be cow and calf and people used to say gai (Indira Gandhi) are vacchharado (Sanjay Gandhi) are contesting. Now farmers tell me a hybrid calf (Rahul) has come to contest the elections.”
Modi also said a recent survey carried out in the Gujarat town of Nadiad revealed that no one among 20 shopkeepers were ready to employ Sonia as a clerk and Rahul as a driver. “And she (Sonia) wants to become the PM,” he allegedly said.
Condemning the chief minister for his remarks, Gujarat Congress chief B.K. Gadhvi called him a “blot on Gujarati culture”. He said Modi had crossed the limits of decency and his comments revealed his “sick mind”.
Youth Congress activists today protested in the chief minister’s Maninagar Assembly constituency in Ahmedabad and burned Modi’s effigy.
Even though state Congress leaders reacted sharply to the remarks, they could not decide how to register their protest. The central leadership has taken note of Modi’s remarks and may lodge a complaint with the Election Commissioner, Gadhvi said.
At Surendranagar early yesterday before setting out on his Bharat Uday yatra, Advani had advised BJP workers not to make personal attacks against “our political rivals’’. His advice went unheeded.
Party general secretary and spokesman Pramod Mahajan also chose to disregard the comments made against Sonia and Rahul. Instead, he said: “Decent language in electioneering should be applicable to all”.
Mahajan turned his ire on the media and asked why it was so “sensitive” to Sonia’s “feelings” when she is “criticised” and not so concerned about A.B. Vajpayee or Advani.
“While the Congress is ultra-sensitive to any remark made against its president, the party has repeatedly used abhadra (indecent) language against the PM and DPM,” he said.
“The Congress has been accusing the PM of being a British agent and Advani’s family of being pro-British during the pre-Independence era. Congress has been indulging in Goebbelsian propaganda over the RSS’ role in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in the belief that a lie told over the last 50 years would be treated as truth,” he said.
When Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Vinay Katiyar used intemperate language against Sonia recently, he was ticked off by party chief M. Venkaiah Naidu. Katiyar had called the Congress chief “Gandhari” and said she was an “evil omen” because her marriage into the Nehru-Gandhi family had caused violent deaths there.