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New Delhi, Sep 29: Congress today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved himself a “very good event manager” but got “carried away” on his visit to the USA even as it charged that he was “diluting” the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. The party, however, at the same time praised Modi for his speech at United Nations in which he had given a strong response to Pakistan’s criticism of India on the Jammu and Kashmir issue. Also Read - Mann Ki Baat: Farmers Playing Major Role in Building Atmanirbhar Bharat, Says PM Amid Protests Over Farm Bills
“When the Prime Minister of India speaks on Mahatma Gandhi on foreign soil, he must not dilute and shrink what all Gandhi stood for. It is sad that it is happening. He should remember Gandhi had also stood for simplicity. Gandhi also believed in non-violence. “One does not emulate Gandhi by seeking to become a fashion icon and a rockstar changing eight designer suits as Gandhi always put on half a dhoti,” senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said. Also Read - COVID-19 Impact: No Government Organised Navratri Festival in Gujarat This Year
Accusing BJP of “always criticising and castigating” Manmohan Singh when he was the prime minister in the previous UPA government, Sharma claimed that Congress had been holding back “until Prime Minister (Modi) made insulting references to the previous government and his predecessors by ridiculing their work”. “It is always expected that a Prime Minister representing 1.2 billion people will get a good reception and audience among the 3.5 million-strong Indian diaspora living in America and Canada. He appeared to have been carried away.
“People of India elected a prime minister to represent India. But he has lived up to the words of his own mentor, LK Advani, of being a very good event promoter, event manager,” Sharma said. The former commerce minister said it would have been good had Modi been “gracious enough to acknowledge the role of many of his predecessors instead of ridiculing and insulting them” when he referred to India’s notable achievements in the last 60 years.
At an official party briefing, Congress spokesman Raj Babbar said that when Modi talked of India’s transition from being a “country of snakes” to that of mouse-wielding youngsters, he had praised the contributions of former prime minister the late Rajiv Gandhi in ushering in an IT revolution in the country.Babbar further said that by acknowledging the progress of the country in the last 60 years, Modi had given a “fitting reply” to his BJP leaders who claim that nothing has happened during this period.
However, Babbar at the same time commended the Prime Minister for his espousal of India’s interests. “We fully appreciate the manner in which our Prime Minister has put forth the country’s position,” he said. Another Congress spokesperson, Shashi Tharoor, has praised Modi for his UNGA speech. Sharma, in his remarks, meanwhile, alleged that in talking about the success of the Mars Mission, Modi had forgotten that it was launched after years of preparation.
“For a Prime Minister to believe… All that is happening in India is only after his entering office is itself an insult to the wisdom and memory of people,” he said. Charging that some of the references made by Modi in his Madison Square Garden speech were “truly galling”, Sharma said the Prime Minister commenting that, unlike the previous government which took credit for introducing various new laws, he would be happy doing away with one archaic law a day makes one wonder “whether he is conveying that there will be no regulation”.
“To improve ease of doing business and cut delays does not mean doing away with the regulating mechanism, which is a must,” he said. Taking potshots at Modi for his frequent references to Mahatma Gandhi, he said these are welcome as they are “coming from the leader of an ideological stream whose ideas militate against those of Gandhi”.
At an AICC briefing, responding to a question on Modi’s slip in having called Gandhi, “Mohanlal Karamchand Gandhi”, Babbar said, “Those who talk about Gandhi, those who keep Gandhi in their heart, who love Gandhi from their heart, who follow Gandhi’s teachings, for them Gandhi is Mohandas” while others are paying mere lip service to the Father of the Nation. Avoiding a direct question as to who is to blame for Gandhi’s killing, Babbar said, “I have not killed Gandhi. The ideology of Congress has not killed Gandhi.”