In what appears to be a last-ditch attempt to arrest the growing prominence of Narendra Modi, the Congress now says that no leader in the BJP can match the stature of former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee.
An article displayed prominently – with Vajpayee’s photo – on the Congress’ website hit out at Modi by invoking Vajpayee’s words criticising the 2002 Gujarat riots under Modi’s watch as CM.
“Shri Vajpayee was clear what was the reason for the defeat: Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s failure to control the communal pogrom in his state in 2002. He believed that the party will lose its credibility unless it took action against Shri Modi,” the article said.
“The fundamental cause of Shri Vajpayee’s pain was that Shri Modi didn’t perform his Rajdharma. He did not fulfil his fundamental duty as the chief minister: protecting the lives of the people of Gujarat. Towards the last ebb of the Gujarat riots, Shri Vajpayee urged Shri Modi to “observe Rajdharma and not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or religion”. It is evident that Shri Vajpayee believed that the Gujarat CM had been not only inept but downright partisan in his handling of the riots,” it said.
“Not just the handling of the riots, Shri Vajpayee believed that the Modi government wasn’t doing enough to provide relief and rehabilitation to those who had been displaced during the riots.”
“This raises the question that how can a person whom the tallest leader of the BJP wanted removed as chief minister, be the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate?”
“The BJP might forget Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But every Indian must ponder over the questions he raised on the man who is now the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate,” the article said.