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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

BJP leaders fear Modi's comments helping Congress

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 16, 2013
First Published: 00:19 IST(16/7/2013) | Last Updated: 08:43 IST(16/7/2013)

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s utterances are leaving some senior BJP leaders in disquiet, though those close to him assert he is working to occupy the centre-stage ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

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Even as the party rises to Modi’s defence after every row, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are asking whether he is on the right track, insiders say.

Shouldn’t Modi be more circumspect when it comes to handling issues like the 2002 riots, they ask.

They fear Modi’s high pitch may help the Congress skirt debating the UPA’s record in governance and also leave them behind in the big race.

Consequently, when senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s newspaper article appeared on Monday, BJP circles were abuzz with its implications. Sinha, of course, chose his words carefully to avoid any impression that he was against Modi.

As he put it in his TV interviews, “We (BJP) should not allow them (opponents) to turn the agenda away from the agenda of the people... The Congress is trying to hide behind the veil (of secularism which Modi had referred to in his Sunday address). For two days, (Modi’s analogy of) puppy  was the debate, then two days of his burqa...There is certainly a need for the BJP to continue articulating serious issues among the people... While Modi leadership will do good to the BJP, I stand by that the BJP should continue focusing on the real issues.”

Interestingly, Sinha’s statement did not go down badly either with those backing Modi. They said Modi’s pattern of utterances was clear. As a BJP leader said, “Modi will touch upon on all the issues that Sinha mentions. But, as his style, Modi will always leave behind a remark that leaves the Congress agitated and keeps the focus on him.”

At this rate, Modi’s plan is to occupy the entire political space, a BJP insider said. “The Congress may end up in his trap if it keeps harping on seclarism versus Modi. That is what Modi wants now.”


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