A day after some of the senior Congress leaders who have been demanding reforms in the party reiterated their call for change, one of them, Ghulam Nabi Azad, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi as someone who “does not hide his true self”.
Speaking at a function organised by the Gujjar Desh Chartiable Trust in Jammu on Sunday, Azad drew parallels between himself and the Prime Minister, saying that like him, Modi too hailed from a village and has not forgotten his roots.
“I like a lot of things about many leaders. There are many big leaders. Even our Prime Minister comes from a village and he used to sell tea. We are political rivals, but I appreciate the fact that he does not hide his true self,’’ he said, adding that one should be proud of oneself.
“I am also from a village and I feel proud of it. I have travelled the whole world and I have stayed in 5-star and 7-star hotels, but when I sit down with people from my village… the fragrance… the feeling is unmatched,” he said.
Azad’s remarks have not gone down well with many Congress leaders. Congress MP from Tamil Nadu Jothimani tweeted, “Dear Gulam Nabi Azad Ji you can praise Modi Ji as much as you want. But pls remember he tore Kashmir into pieces. This is the state & its people who made what you been for decades along with @incindia.”
Azad’s praise comes days after the PM bid the senior Congress leader an emotional farewell on his retirement from the Rajya Sabha.
Breaking down as he recalled his close association with Azad, the PM had said, “At a personal level, I would request him (Azad) to not consider that he is not in the House. My door is always open for all of you… I will always expect, and value, your views… I will not let you retire.”
Azad also turned emotional during his response, saying the BJP has always been part of “nationalist politics”, and he felt “proud” that he was a “Hindustani Muslim”.
Earlier, Anand Sharma, another member of the group of 23 Congress leaders, who had written to Sonia Gandhi seeking far-reaching changes in the party, had made comments that were seen as appreciative of the government’s efforts in handling the Covid crisis.
Addressing a FICCI conference in December, Sharma had said that despite the challenge posed by the pandemic, India was not overwhelmed and the country responded with grit as a nation.
“This is a credit to our people, to our society and to the government. We all got together as a nation to respond to a situation, which was beyond us,” he said.
On another occasion, Sharma said that India has increased its health infrastructure and congratulated both the Central and state governments for working together.
With inputs from ENS, New Delhi
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