New Delhi : Despite his persistent hard sell of the Gujarat model the Congress has never accepted Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s claims of being a development man. But now the party has got a shot in the arm with a three-year old video clip from the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and senior BJP leader Uma Bharti describing Modi as a “vinash purush.”
Releasing the clip at the party’s customary briefing, Abhishek Manu Singhvi accepted that the clip is three years old and belongs to a period when Bharti was not in the BJP. But he added that she was “not saying these things in the middle of an election speech” and hence there has to be some truth in what a senior leader like her says.
In the CD, Bharti, who was out of the BJP at the time, is heard saying that she “never saw Hindus as frightened as in Gujarat” and that “Gujarat has become a fear-stricken state.” She also reportedly rubbishes Mr Modi’s claims of exceptional development in Gujarat.
In the video, Uma Bharti is heard saying, “I know him since 1973… He is not a Vikas Purush (development man) but a Vinash Purush (man of destruction). His claim of GDP growth is fake. In the last five years, Gujarat went deeper into debt. Gujarat got neither Ram nor Roti. It should be freed from the Vinash Purush.”
She also comments that it was the media that made Mr Modi big, “Since you have inflated the balloon, you will have to deflate it,” she says.
This is not the first time that Bharti has expressed a low opinion about Modi. She had recently said that Modi is not a great orator like Vajpayee. But after the Congress released this video clip, she lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, and observed: “Even America has changed its mind about Modi.”
However for the Congress the solace is that there are others in the BJP who subscribe to its theory that Modi is not the development man he claims to be. ‘‘The video shows that there are thousands of such persons in the BJP, who consider him a dictator, a Vinash Purush and his claims about the development of Gujarat are fake,’’ said Singhvi.
The AICC had plans to release the video clip on Wednesday but it was put off as the CD player failed to work. Union minister Anand Sharma, who is senior spokesman of the party, was planning to show to the media the CD which showed the BJP PM candidate and his party in a poor light.
The BJP spokespersons were quick to hit back at the Congress for releasing the video, asserting that it has no relevance to the ongoing elections. “It shows desperation of the Congress. Singhvi should remember his own video,” Meenakshi Lekhi said, referring to one that had surfaced two years ago much to his embarrassment.
Her colleague Prakash Javadekar said the dirty tricks may boomerang on the Congress. “Should we show what Chidambaram said when he was not in the Congress,” he demanded.\