statesman news service
NEW DELHI, 13 JULY: A day after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s "puppy” remarks in connection with the  2002 Gujarat riots drew widespread condemnation from political parties, the BJP today slammed the Congress, saying it was “twisting” facts as it is scared of his growing popularity.
“The Congress is in the habit of twisting facts about what Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has to say,” BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
“The Congress and others are scared of Narendra Modi’s popularity, impeccable integrity, record of governance.  Therefore, they are in the habit of twisting facts,” he said.
The party spokesman and general secretary Mr Rajiv Pratap
Rudy said contrary to what is being made out to be, “What Modi has said is sheer compassion”.
Mr Prasad said what the Gujarat chief minister and the BJP election committee chairman said is that “every creature is worshiped in India and anything wrong happens it is  a matter of sadness”.
Mr Modi’s comments on the 2002 riots in an interview with Reuters*** news agency when he said even if a puppy comes under the wheels of your car, you would feel sad had created a storm with his political rivals accusing him of “insensitivity” for using the canine analogy vis-a-vis Muslims, who suffered the most during the 2002 mayhem.
“The so-called secular forces are trying to portray a picture which is absolutely bizarre. These people, the Congress friends who are asking Mr Narendra Modi to apologise are heartless people. They do not have any concern for mankind,” Mr Rudy said.
“I think he (Modi) is so clear. Yet you are trying to read into it after his clarification. It is, I can only say, a case of having some kind of hatred against Modi. But the more they seek to hate without any basis, the more his popularity is going to rise before the people of the country,” Mr Prasad added.
However, Mr Modi got support from an unexpected quarter when BSP MP Mr Vijay Bahadur Singh said the Gujarat chief minister’s remarks only reflected compassion for any living creature. “Instead, everyone should welcome it,” he said.
Another BJP spokesperson Ms Meenakshi Lekhi also defended Mr Modi and said, “actually the apology should come from those who are twisting the chief minister’s remarks”.
“I believe in Hinduism which says if mankind has to survive, we have ensure the survival of animals, trees and birds.. everyone should survive. So if an animal dies we feel pain, so think over if a human being dies the sorrow will be multiple times more. This statement is being misinterpreted,” she said adding that Modi’s critics are only showing their ‘mental bankruptcy’.
“Rahul lacks courage to lead”: Ms Lekhi also took on the Congress for shying away from declaring Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate.
“The way things are turning in this country on price rise, country’s economy and the manner the UPA regime has failed to provide a good governance. Congress does not want to expose Rahul," she said.
“Haar ke liye bhi himmat chahiye (Even to face defeat one needs courage),” she said taking potshots at the Congress vice-president.
She alleged that the Congress party is yet again trying to divide the nation on religious lines by mooting’ a special task force to try terror cases involving minorities.
“The Congress has once again demonstrated its intention to divide India on religious lines. Such a demand from minority affairs minister K Rahman Khan is only a strategy to polarise India,” she said.