Take on Modi: Tewari to party spokespersons

Amid confusion in the Congress over how to counter Narendra Modi’s “polarisation politics”,Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Tuesday told party spokespersons that the challenge posed by him in the run-up to the 2014 polls should be faced head-on

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 24, 2013 2:13:13 am

Amid confusion in the Congress over how to counter Narendra Modi’s “polarisation politics”,Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Tuesday told party spokespersons that the challenge posed by him in the run-up to the 2014 polls should be faced head-on and they should not be diffident in articulating the party’s secular credentials.

His views — articulated at a national workshop of party spokespersons — came a day after the party openly disapproved of general secretary Shakeel Ahmed’s tweet that terror outfit Indian Mujahideen was born after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Ahmed met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday,but insisted “not a single word about the controversy was discussed “ even as Minority Affairs Minister K Rehman Khan and general secretary Digvijaya Singh came out in his support. The Congress too went soft with spokesperson Raj Babbar saying Ahmed was a man of “depth” and argued that “if a serious person like him says something,it should be seen in its totality”.

Sources in the Congress admitted there was lack of clarity on the way to counter Modi’s “polarisation politics” and to the extent to which the party should go. Some senior leaders confided that the party seems to be walking into Modi’s trap while a considerable section argues the party should not be shying away from questioning both his “development model”.

At the spokespersons’ conclave,Tewari in response to questions about the challenge posed by Modi is learnt to have said that the challenge should be faced upfront. He told them not to be hesitant in articulating the Congress’s “secular credentials”.

“You do not have to vacate the seats when the chips are down,” he was quoted as saying. While the Congress leadership has apologised for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots,neither the BJP nor Modi have done that,he is learnt to have said.

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