Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Congress dismisses Modi fast as BJP's headache

Party spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi gives a thought-out response

New Delhi: A day after Gujarat chief minister and BJP's Hindutva poster-boy Narendra Modi broke his much publicised three-day fast in Ahmedabad, the Congress Party's central office maintained an eloquent silence on his state unit lader Shankarsinh Vaghela's Modi counter-fast, collected its wits as it were and dismissed the Modi show as a headache for the BJP and the NDA.

Party's media cell head and general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi in a thought-ut ex tempre statement, pointed out, “A fast is performed for a purpose. One of the purposes is for atma-shuddhi (cleansing of the self). In Modi's case, it is not there. A fast is also part of satyagraha as initiated by Mahtma Gandhi. A satyagraha is a protest against an injustice or a fight for justice. What injustice is Modi fighting against, and what is the just cause he is championing? As a matter of fact, it is the victims of injustice – the victims of 2002 riots -- who should be fasting.”

Commenting on the absence of Shiva Sena and Janata Dal (S), two of the key members of the NDA, at Modi's fast venue along with the BJP luminaries, Mr Dwivedi said, “Where is the NDA without Shiva Sena and Janata Dal (S)?”

He also said that the country would not accept a politician like Modi, who does nt believe in the national credo of inclusiveness, and decsribed the Gujarat chief minister and the party's bete noir as the “biggest hypocrite” in Indian politics is the first decade of the new century.

He said that it was the RSS at the institutional level and Mr L.K.Avvani at the individual level who had to worry over Modi's fast and his suppsoed rise in popularity.

The party presented its characteristic attitude of insouciance and it was implied that it was the media that tried to project the events surrounding Anna Hazare and Narendra Modi as popular events when they were not.

It also feels that Modi was speaking the language of Lalu Yadav – that of social justice – when Narendra Modi was the party in-charge of Bihar, and that he changed his tune to Hindutva when he was placed in Gujarat, implying that he was an opportunist.

But the Congress leaders are cautious enough to admit that Modi's work on the economic and developmental front cannot be dismissed out of hand.

While the party is right in assessing that Modi's immediate challenge lies within the BJP and the 'parivar', the party feels safe that it would survive any kind of challenge because there is no credible alternative. Congress feels quite secure that the TINA factor will keep it safe in power, and that 2014 is a long way off.

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