As the BJP cadre cheered Narendra Modi’s elevation within the party, the Congress brushed aside the hype around Modi and took jibes at the BJP for being “ungrateful” to LK Advani who stayed away from the national executive meet on health grounds.
"We are ready for a fight. We are not afraid of Modi," Congress MP and Union minister Rajiv Shukla said, responding to hopes in the BJP that the party would be able to defeat the Congress in the next Lok Sabha elections.
Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed added that claims that the Congress was afraid would get its response in 2014.” After the results of Parliamentary elections, Shahnawaz Hussain and other BJP leaders will know who was afraid of whom," he said.
Shukla also took pot-shots at the internal differences within the BJP over Modi’s new role, wondered how the BJP expected to get its ministers to work together when it could not keep its ten top leaders together.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Sing also played on the BJP side-stepping LK Advani’s reservations and his absence from the party’s national executive meet.
"My heart goes out to Advaniji. He brought BJP from 2 to 182 in Lok Sabha. But then the ungrateful BJP is a Party with differences," Singh tweeted.
Asked if Modi could be the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Singh said "it was for BJP to decide" and congratulated Modi.
Shakeel Ahmed, however, insisted that the sidelined BJP veteran was only "reaping what he had sown."
"Advani is getting a taste of his pills. It was he who had started communal politics in India after 1985-86. Now Modi has projected himself as a more communal person than Advani, and this is the simple reason that the senior most BJP leader has now been sidelined," he told PTI.