In a bid to undermine the effect of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s recent ‘headline-grabbing’ remarks, the BJP fielded Shahnawaz Hussain on Tuesday to defend him.
Hussain not only defended Modi’s two hugely controversial statements: that he would feel sad even if a “puppy” came under his car, and that the Congress hid behind the “burqa” of secularism, but also improvised on Modi’s formulations in an attempt to take the sting out of the controversy.
“Covering itself in the blanket (kambal) of secularism, the Congress wants to drink votes like ghee,” Hussain said. “Now please don’t misinterpret the word blanket too.” Asked whether the BJP was distancing itself from the “burqa” remark, Hussain said: “Please shift to kambal (blanket) now.”
He drew a comparison between the Delhi 1984 riots — on a day when the Delhi High Cour t upheld framing of charges against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for the killing of Sikhs — with Gujarat, which was “peaceful” since 2002.
“Rajiv Gandhi had said in 1984 that when a large tree falls the ground shakes. Today the earth is shaking for the Congress with the court upholding framing of charges against Sajjan Kumar,” he said. “There were 13 ,000 riots during the Congress rule. They talk about 2002 but not about peace in Gujarat after that. They want to divert the political agenda to corruption and inflation, but we won’t allow that.”
He then went on to obliquely defend Modi’s clarification on the puppy remark. “Our ideology says Sarva dharm samabhav and Ekatma Manav darshan. We should be concerned about everything from an ant to a mountain. Here, I am not calling minorities an ant and the majority a mountain,” Hussain said, implying that Modi’s remarks had been twisted and cautioning against the same happening with him.