Calling Narendra Modi a “chest-thumping, self-proclaimed hero”, Union minister Sachin Pilot said on Sunday that it is not possible for the Gujarat leader to be like the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Congress leader also said that the life motto of Modi and many other BJP leaders is to “compromise and do whatever it takes to get to the position of prime minister”, but they must understand that “you cannot change colours overnight”.
“People who plan, conspire, desire and run after the post of PM, they will never make it. It comes to you with your work, honesty and acceptance,” Pilot said.
The 36-year-old Lok Sabha MP from Ajmer in Rajasthan, who holds the charge of corporate affairs ministry, said that Modi is positioning himself as an “avatar” of the former PM, but “Modi is no Vajpayee”.
The comments come amidst a political furore over Modi’s comments that he is a ‘Hindu nationalist’ and he did “absolutely the right thing” during 2002 riots in Gujarat.
Modi addressed a gathering at Fergusson College in Pune on Sunday. Modi has been made BJP’s chief campaigner for next Lok Sabha elections and is widely being speculated as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
“Modi is a chest-thumping, self-proclaimed hero in his own making. He needs projection, and his party and PR agencies are pumping in money to project him as face of the BJP and their poll campaign,” Pilot said.
Taking on L K Advani as well, the minister said that the BJP strongman is now being projected as a “secular” face in the party, but people see through these gimmicks and they still remember his role in ratha yatra and Ram mandir issues.
“Becoming PM is not the end of the world for any of the Congress leaders, but it is so for Advani, Modi and 10 other people in the BJP,” he said.
Pilot said the talks about Modi contesting next Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi, Allahabad or Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh might be because of his “endeavour to become an avatar of Vajpayee”.
Soon after becoming BJP’s poll panel chief in June, Modi called on ailing Vajpayee, who has represented Lucknow in Lok Sabha, among other constituencies.
“Many in the BJP want to be the face of the party or prime ministerial candidate and all of them are rushing to seek the blessings of RSS, which is dictating the policy in that party. The BJP is not clear whether it is a Hindutva party or right-wing Hindu nationalist party, or a progressive right of centre forward-looking party,” he said.
“Whether it is development, governance or whether it is Ram lalla or Ayodhya or Ram Mandir, that debate is still on in BJP,” Pilot said.
“It will be interesting to see whether the BJP is going to have a prime ministerial candidate and we have been hearing very different things. If they cannot keep their allies and leadership together, how will they keep the country together,” he said.