Bangalore: Where the name Modi appears, controversy follows. Even as debate rages over credentials of next prime minister, senior BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh minister, Babulal Gaur, on Monday termed Narendra Modi as a "secular" leader.
“Narendra Modi desh ke dusre Vallabhbhai Patel hain…shudh secular hain, (Narendra Modi is another Vallabhbhai Patel of this country…He is secular to core),” the municipal administration minister told a press conference after unveiling the “Narmada River Conservation Plan” of the state government.
He was replying to a query on who will be NDA’s prime ministerial candidate for 2014 polls.
The BJP had projected L K Advani as its prime ministerial candidate in 2009 elections.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s recent remark that the “NDA nominee for the top post should have secular credentials”, ruffled the feathers of BJP and created a rift between the lead NDA constituent and its ally JD(U).
CPI-ML(Liberation) had described as "eyewash" Nitish Kumar's insult at Narendra Modi and questioned his respectability to attack Modi as he himself was part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. But this isn’t any new game in politics as Modi too had raised questions on former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's secular credentials.
However, party general secretary Deepankar Bhattacharya had said "Nitish does not have the moral right to question the secular credentials of Modi as long as he remains a part of NDA."
Bhattacharya added that "Kumar's secular soul did not revolt when the Gujarat riots took place in 2002 when he was the Railway minister at the Centre."
"Kumar will never pass the litmus test for secular image by merely questioning the secular credentials of Modi. People of Bihar are unlikely to pat his back for taking on Modi when their own aspirations remain unfulfilled."