M A I N   N E W S

BJP downplays Modi’s remarks on Sikhs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
The BJP today sought to downplay the “joke” reportedly cracked by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Sikh community, during an election rally in Gujarat and said the party did not discriminate against any person on the basis of his religion or caste.

“As far as we know, he (Mr Modi) did not make any offending statement....But if at all his remarks on Prime Minister have caused any confusion or misunderstanding among the Sikhs Mr Modi will clarify himself,” BJP Vice-President and spokesperson M.A. Naqvi told mediapersons here.

Drawn about the demand of one Akali Dal faction seeking ‘apology’ from Mr Modi for his ‘joke’, Mr Naqvi said the BJP respected all religions equally and no partyman would want to offend any person on the basis of belief, faith or allegiance to any community.

Meanwhile, party sources said Mr Modi had already issued a clarification statement from Gujarat and had informed the BJP Central leadership that he had not said anything which could be treated as derogatory against any community and had also offered to send a copy of the video cassette of his reported speech.

In an apparent attempt to shift the focus from Mr Modi to Mr Manmohan Singh, the BJP spokesperson said the domination of “Super Prime Minister” (read Sonia Gandhi) was so much that the Prime Minister had been forced to prove everyday that he was the “asli pradhanmantri” (real Prime Minister).

“It has become a matter of routine for Mr Manmohan Singh to emphasise every other day that he was the real Prime Minister and no one was the super PM....This proves as to what extent the unconstitutional Prime Minister Sonia Gandhi is dominating the Constitutional Prime Minister,” Mr Naqvi said.

“Mr Manmohan Singh’s plight is reflected by the very conduct of his ministerial colleagues to the extent that on serious issues of national importance such as the national security and terrorism they don’t speak in one voice,” he added.

“While one minister says that cross-border terrorism is coming to an end, another minister says that ISI cannot be blamed for terrorism and a third senior minister observes that ISI is behind terrorism and violence,” he said charging that “this goes on to prove that the Prime Minister had very little control on his ministers and does not enjoy their confidence since the ministers are more interested in registering their confidence in the super Prime Minister.

Regarding the outcome of Assembly poll in Arunachal Pradesh, where the BJP has bagged seven seats, Mr Naqvi said the party was happy with the results as it showed that the party’s popularity was growing in the North-Eastern state.

The saffron brigade’s upward march in Arunachal Pradesh is due to the good developmental policies adopted by the Vajpayee-led NDA Government, Mr Naqvi said.

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