Washington: Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid has likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a magician and conceded that he remains a popular leader.
Addressing students at the Georgetown University, Khurshid added that unlike Modi, his party, the BJP, is fast losing its popularity.
"It is still three years down the road. The truth is BJP is losing its popularity very fast. But the other side of the truth is Modi has not lost his popularity equally as his party has. I do not know if this is a good thing or bad thing," Khurshid told students.
"He (Modi) is little bit of a magician. He may have some tricks in his bag to introduce before the next election (in 2019)," he said.
Speaking about his party's prospects, Khurshid said it would be sad for the Congress party if it does not come back to power.
Accusing the Modi government of non-performance, Khurshid said, "I think, it is important for us at this point of time to provide an alternate vision of India of tomorrow that would not rely on his failures or his lack of success."
"He must not remain the focus of the next election. The focus of the next election must be ideas that the young people can relate to. And ideas that larger section of Indian society can relate to," he said, adding that the Congress should be able to win the election on the basis of an alternative picture of the India that "we want" to build.
Khurshid said under the Modi government, freedom is being put to hard test.
"Today, I think in India freedom is being put to hard test. And the sad thing is that those who should have been guardians of that freedom are joining in the effort to curtail that freedom," the top Congress leader.