'Modi like Hitler, Gujarat Cong didn’t attack him consistently'

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 20, 2014 12:38 IST

Former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar feels the Congress failed to build upon Sonia Gandhi’s observation that Narendra Modi was a merchant of death. Likening Modi to Adolf Hitler, he said the Gujarat chief minister gave away 76% tribal land in his state to the Adani Group. Excerpts from an interview:

Some UPA leaders think the Modi wave is visible even in states like Tamil Nadu.
In a country known for its tolerance, a man like Modi cannot create any ripple, let alone wave. I am confident that 2014 is not going to be 1933 — the year Hitler came to power in Germany. But mistakes do happen. Germans are the most civilized people and yet they voted for Hitler. So, if the voters elect Modi, we have to topple that government by prevailing upon other parties. Modi knows nothing about India; he has no qualifications to be the PM.

But inflation and corruption during the UPA regime are bigger issues.
I agree there is some anti-incumbency factor against the UPA. But we have got our acts together. I can see in my constituency Mayila-duthurai how MGNREGA changed lives of poor people. And Modi had slammed this scheme. Believe me, there is no relevance of Gujarat model in large parts of the country. In Gujarat, tribals had only 8% land. Modi gave away 76% of it to the Adani Group. His campaign is funded entirely by black money.

Observers feel that the Congress is too late to counter Modi’s propaganda.
I agree we should have continuously attacked this man from 2002. But our party leadership in Gujarat shied away from attacking Modi, allowing him a lot of political space. We failed to build upon Sonia Gandhi’s correct observation that Modi is maut ka saudagar (the merchant of death). But nevertheless we have to make an all-out effort now to stop this dangerous man.

But Sanjaya Baru’s book has also added to the opposition’s ammo.
I have worked with the government for 21 years before entering the PMO. Baru had no such background and his only qualification seems to me is that his father was a teacher or a colleague of Manmohan Singh in his early years. Baru had no sense and he still hasn’t. He was an accidental media advisor to the PM. But his book has become the latest tool for the BJP but whatever he has written is his individual views.

Why did you call J Jayalalithaa the greatest magician after PC Sorcar?
A magician creates an illusion around himself as well as the audience. Jayalalithaa herself is in delusion and is now trying to bring people into a world of delusion that she will be the next PM!

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