An ugly war of words has broken out between BJP leader Arun Jaitley and Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson justice Markandey Katju over the latter's criticism of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in a newspaper article, with both asking each other to quit.
Writing in The Hindu on February 15, Katju said “there is still a mystery as to what exactly happened in Godhra” and he found it hard to believe “that Modi had no hand in 2002”.
“I concede to Katju the right to hold his political views, but can the occupant of a job whose functioning is quasi-judicial openly participate in political activity,” Jaitley said. “He should either quit before actively participating in politics or be sacked.”
Dubbing Katju as more Congress than the Congress, he said the former Supreme Court judge’s attacks on the non-Congress governments were more in the nature of “thanks-giving to those who provided him with a post-retirement job”.
Asking Jaitley to quit politics, Katju said the BJP leader was twisting facts. He said he had reacted strongly to the arrest of two girls in Maharashtra over a Facebook post and Himachal CM threatening to break the camera of a journalist. The Congress is in power in both the states.
“Jaitley has criticised me for a report against the Bihar government for suppressing press freedom. That was not my report, but that of a three-member team of the PCI. Here again, Jaitley has twisted facts,” Katju said.
Jaitley’s counter was “insightful” in demolishing “lies” spread about Gujarat, Modi tweeted.