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Congress-Modi war plays out, from San Jose to New Delhi

The BJP and Congress traded barbs over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks in the US, where he made an oblique reference to the unproven corruption taint on Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2015 19:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Modi in US,Cong attacks BJP,Modi's San Jose speech
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the tech giant’s HQ in California.(PTI)

The Congress on Monday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a drama king and his US visit a fashion show as the party returned fire after he criticised past governments and referred to the unproven corruption taint on Sonia Gandhi’s “damaad” or son-in-law.

The opposition party said the Prime Minister should have reflected on issues such as the Lalit Modi and Vyapam scandals involving BJP leaders during his address to the Indian community in San Jose, California.

“His US visit was a mere fashion show,” Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma told a television channel.

Reacting to Modi’s breaking down emotionally while talking about his mother with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in California, All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza said the Prime Minister was a big drama king.

“On the one hand, he doesn’t bother to meet his mother more than once a year and his wife has to make use of the RTI to know her own rights. A person who doesn’t give his wife her rights, and who doesn’t keeps his own mother in the PM’s residence speaks and sheds crocodile tears while remembering his mother, clearly shows how big a drama king he is,” Oza said.

Party colleague Sharma agreed. “The Prime Minister says his mother used to clean utensils in other people’s homes. Sadly, this is a lie, He is insulting his mother,” he said.

The party reacted sharply after the Prime Minister took a swipe at the Congress chief’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra, in San Jose early on Monday to illustrate how his government has no graft charge while there were allegations of politicians and their families making crores of rupees before he came to power.

“In our country it doesn’t take much for allegations to come up against politicians ... Someone made 50 crores, someone’s son made 250 crores, daughter made 500 crores, damaad (son-in-law) made 1,000 crores,” Modi said.

The Congress responded that it was ashamed of his behaviour on foreign soil. “Indians are fed up with the government who helps a ‘bagoda’. Is there any state government in India like Rajasthan where there are scams after scams? Before taking a dig at others, he should look at his party,” party leader Manish Tewari said.

JD(U) leader KC Tyagi also took a dig at Modi, saying he should never attack his country’s Opposition on foreign lands. “Questions can also be raised as to why he does not stay with his mother,” he said.

BJP leader MJ Akbar countered the Opposition, saying the Congress has become the voice of untruth, malice and utter frustration. “The PM is devoted to his mother … he touched her feet after the election victory (in 2014). This is in contrast to Congress where a mother has ruined party.”

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu sought to know why the Congress was getting unnecessarily perturbed since Modi did not mention anyone’s name in his address.

“The Prime Minister has not taken name of any party or person. Then why should Congress get disturbed? We are not able to understand. The Prime Minister, during his visits, has been explaining the situation, developments in India to the Indian diaspora. Nobody should have any objection over that,” he told reporters in Hyderabad.

Modi has come under attack for making controversial statements during his visits abroad.

During his German visit, he had said that India was “begging earlier and will not beg any more”, evoking sharp criticism from Congress and some other parties.

In Canada, he triggered a controversy by stating that before he became the Prime Minister, it was “scam India” and he inherited filth and corruption.

On his maiden visit to China as Prime Minister in May, he said people had at one point of time had considered it as “misfortune” to be born in India and ashamed to be called an Indian.

Last month in the UAE, Modi said: “I have got some problems in legacy ... Some things were stalled due to the indecisiveness and lethargy of the governments (in the past)... It is my priority to kickstart those things.”

Congress rubbished his remarks, but Modi remained unfazed by such criticism.

(With inputs from agencies. )

With agency inputs

First Published: Sep 28, 2015 17:06 IST