New Delhi: Setting
the stage for a likely national role in the BJP, Gujarat Chief
Minister Narendra Modi Sunday hit out at the Congress, comparing
it to a termite while party leaders stressed on unity, discipline
and a clean image for success in the upcoming elections.
Modi, seen by many in the BJP as the party's prime ministerial
candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, accused the Nehru-Gandhi
family of keeping its interests above that of the country and
referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a "night watchman" in
his loudly-applauded speech at the two-day national council
meeting that ended Sunday.
Senior leader L.K. Advani lauded Modi but also showered praise on
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. He lavishly
praised Sushma Swaraj's speech, virtually comparing her oratorical
skills to that of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In his address, party president Rajnath Singh cautioned party
leaders against speaking out of turn before TV cameras and
emphasised that they should abide by discipline.
In a session on good governance, Modi mainly spoke on national
issues as he attacked the Congress and its top leadership
"The Congress just does not have the spirit to take the country
forward. Other countries have overtaken us. It has sacrificed
interests of the country to that of one family," he said.
Congress leaders reacted sharply saying that Modi will get an
answer from people.
Exhorting party workers to strive to unseat the Congress in the
next general elections, Modi sought to downplay his own role as a
possible prime ministerial candidate.
"Who is the person, who is not does not matter in the BJP," he
said, while giving credit for his third straight victory to party
workers, Gujarat's people and the party's national leadership.
Training his guns on the Gandhi family, he claimed that the
Congress had appointed Sitaram Kesri as party president so that no
one emerges as a threat to "the family".
"It appeared that a night watchman had been put in place," Modi
said, adding that when the turn came to chose a prime minister
after 2004 polls, another "night watchman" was appointed.
Modi claimed that the political future of those who can emerge as
threat to the family is finished.
He said that if Pranab Mukherjee had been made prime minister, the
country would not have suffered as much. "Had Pranab been
successful, what would have happened to the family... Hence the
tradition of night-watchman."
"Getting rid of Congress is a patriotic job, the same work that
was done to get freedom. The way swaraj (self-governance) came,
su-raj (good governance) will also come," Modi asserted and added
that "Congress was like a termite.".
Advani, in his concluding remarks, emphasised that the party
should not compromise with corruption.
In his written speech, Advani talked of the need to change the
"mutual equation" between the BJP and minorities but skipped it in
his oral speech. He also said there was need to remedy BJP's
recent image as "party with differences".
Sushma Swaraj said the party had lost in Himachal Pradesh and
Uttarakhand due to groupism and called upon party workers to take
the council's message of "Sushasan sankalp, BJP vikalp (Good
governance is the determination, BJP is the alternative)" to each
household in the country.
The political resolution attacked UPA over price rise, corruption
and misgovernance and said BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
was the alternative.
Reacting to Modi's remarks, Minister of State for Parliamentary
Affairs Rajiv Shukla said the kind of language used by the Gujarat
chief minister does not behove any leader of national stature.
Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal said that Gujarat chief
minister had been attacking Gandhi family for years but people had
given a reply in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls and will do so in
BJP ally Janata Dal-United, which is opposed to projecting Modi as
NDA's prime ministerial candidate, said the issue of candidate
should be discussed in a meeting of allies.
"Once BJP decides its candidate, it should come to NDA platform,"
JD-U's chief whip in Rajya Sabha Ali Anwar Ansari told IANS.