Whistle-blower Julian Assange's WikiLeaks on Monday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had pushed fake endorsement in support of its prime minister nominee Narendra Modi.
In a series of tweets, WikiLeaks claimed it never said Modi was incorruptible, a stand contrary to what a section of BJP supporters allegedly believes. Some BJP posters have also allegedly used the 'endorsement', TV reports said.
"…rather he is popular because 'viewed' as 'incorruptible'," WikiLeaks said in a tweet, which could give the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) enough ammo to launch a fresh offensive on the Gujarat chief minister ahead of the high-voltage general elections.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal have questioned Modi's development claims and 'clean image' at their recent rallies.
The BJP, however, downplayed the tweets. "We don't need a certificate from Wikileaks or Assange on Modiji," a tweet by news agency ANI quoted BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as saying.
The controversy dates back to 2006, when US diplomat and Mumbai consular general Michael S Owen, according to WikiLeaks, met with Modi.
The whistle-blower website published a cable on the minutes of the meeting held about eight years before US ambassador Nancy Powell met Modi in Gandhinagar this February and marked the end of the country's nine-year boycott imposed on the Gujarat chief minister in the aftermath of the 2002 riots. The US had denied Modi a diplomatic visa in 2005.
Owen and Modi had discussed Gujarat's development, investment in the state as well as communalism, said the Wikileaks cable.
It highlights the part where Rajkot Congress party leader Manoharsinh Jadeja said Modi's "accomplishments were undeniable".
A WikiLeaks tweet said, "The Modi "incorruptible" quote comes from…Manoharsinh…"
Owen's note in the cable also said, "Modi is clearly not going to apologize or back down on the violence of 2002 (but)…We believe Sinhji's comment on Modi are indeed accurate…"
After the cable was released in 2011, the BJP had reportedly boasted of Modi's honesty and Gujarat's development model.
The three tweets from Wikileaks