Saturday, Apr 25, 2015

Congress reads between Nitish’s lines: ‘secular remark a message to Muslims’

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published on:April 16, 2013 2:49 am

The Congress Monday took a dig at the JD(U) leadership for suggesting that Narendra Modi was communal and Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani were secular.

“We are at a loss to understand Nitish Kumar’s logic that Modi is communal and Advani secular. In our opinion,Modi is only a symptom of the disease of communalism which was initiated by L K Advani and Atal Behari Vajpayee in the politics of Independent India,” senior Congress leader from Bihar Shakeel Ahmed said.

This came a day after Nitish Kumar indicated JD(U)’s opposition to Modi’s likely projection as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate stating that for a country like India,only a “secular face” was acceptable as PM candidate. He had said only a leader like Vajpayee who could take diverse sections of people with him could become leader of the nation. Nitish had not mentioned Advani’s name but a JD(U) spokesman added later that he could be more acceptable to most in the NDA.

“For his convenience,Nitish mentioned Vajpayee’s advice to Modi about following raj dharma. But Nitish conveniently forgets that within a fortnight after that Vajpayee had stated on the same Gujarat carnage in Goa that what was happening was the manifestation of nationalist sentiments,” said Ahmed. He said it has always been the BJP’s strategy to produce leaders “in a set”.

“When Vajpayee was naram dal (liberal face) Advani was a hardliner. Now that Vajpayee is physically weak,Advani has become naram dal and Modi a hardliner. It is said that Vajpayee had wanted to sack Modi but Advani defended him then,” Ahmed claim.

The dig at Nitish came even as the Congress is said to be engaged in negotiations with JD(U) for a pre-poll tie-up in Bihar. Despite his repeated overtures,the Congress has been maintaining a distance from Lalu Prasad. Some in the Congress believe that if JD(U) breaks ties with the BJP,it would be inclined to join hands with the Congress to wean minorities away from Lalu and upper castes from the BJP.

“Having gone this far,Nitish will certainly not be part of the NDA if Modi is projected as its PM candidate. But,we have reasons to believe that the BJP would finally persuade Modi to step aside in favour of a more acceptable face. Nitish can then go back to Bihar and tell the people,especially minorities,that he is the one who blocked Modi’s bid for the top job,” said a senior Congress leader.

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