Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Taking on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over his burqa remark, Ajay Maken, head of the Congress` communications department, said the `veil of secularism` was better than blatant communalism.
Talking to media persons on Monday, Maken said, "I believe the burqa of secularism is way better than the nakedness of communalism."
Faced with criticism from Modi over corruption and lack of development during the UPA regime, Maken presented the government`s defence. "Yesterday, whatever he (Modi) said was one-sided, one needs to answer keeping facts in mind," Maken said.
"Modi should first improve his performance in the state of Gujarat and then talk of national level improvements," he said.
Refuting Modi`s tirade against lack of quality education during UPA regime, Maken stressed that the drop-out rates in Gujarat schools are 57%, far above the national average.
Accusing Modi of presenting `erroenous` and `false` figures, Maken said that a person, who has "not been able to serve his own people properly" and "failed" in his own state has no business telling the whole country what to do.
Drawing parallels from the achievements in Gujarat during Modi`s tenure and the NDA rule at the Centre, Maken said the performance of the UPA was much better in all fields including GDP growth, tourism and education.
"I want to ask him what did he do in Gujarat that he keeps touring the whole country trying to give lessons to youths," he said, adding that only a handful from Gujarat won medals in Olympic and very tourists visited the state in ten years since Modi was Chief Minister.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the choice before people was an inclusive India or an India which is sectarian.
"The vision of the Congress party is pluralistic and inclusive. And the vision of the section of the opposition has been sectarian, majoritarian and communal right from the beginning," Tewari said.
"How is Modi making claims about education when posts of principals are empty in schools and colleges in Gujarat?" Maken added.
In the same vein, taking a potshot at Modi and his `RSS link`, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said he felt it was much better to wear the `veil of secularism` than to wear `khaki shorts.`
Tharoor tweeted, "Modi says we `hide behind the burqa of secularism`. Preferable, surely, to the khaki shorts of intolerance&hatred that he now tries to hide? (sic)."
With PTI Inputs