BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s attempt on Tuesday to distance himself from the recent statements by VHP leader Praveen Togadia and Bihar ex-minister Giriraj Singh gave fresh ammunition to the Congress to target its main rival.
“Petty statements by those claiming to be the BJP’s well-wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development and good governance. I disapprove (of) any such irresponsible statements and appeal to those making them to kindly refrain from doing so,” Modi tweeted. In another tweet, he said the entire nation was looking towards the BJP for going to the people solely on the issues of good governance and development.
Though he did not name anybody, the reaction comes against the backdrop of a media controversy around statements by Singh and Togadia. The Bihar leader had said that those opposing Modi should be sent to Pakistan while Togadia had asked his supporters to forcibly vacate a house purchased by a Muslim in a Hindu-majority area of Bhavnagar.
In his blog, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley also conveyed his displeasure over the shrill remarks. “Even an isolated irresponsible statement will bring discredit to us. Every sensible well-wisher of the BJP is expected to exercise utmost restraint and concentrate on the issue of governance, which is the theme of our campaign,” Jaitley said.
The BJP’s positioning notwithstanding, the Congress accused Modi of having a “forked tongue” and sought an apology from him on remarks made by Singh, Togadia and others.