Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday landed himself in a blazing row after he described Narendra Modi as `Bhasmasur`, a mythological character known for trying to destroy his creator, and said the Gujarat Chief Minister has "consumed" his mentor LK Advani and forced the Congress to distance itself from his remarks.
"What Ramesh said may be his personal view. Modi is a challenge for BJP and NDA," Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said.
Ramesh, while dubbing Narendra Modi as India`s "first authentic fascist" yesterday had conceded that the BJP leader poses a "challenge" for the Congress party in the coming elections.
He had further said, "He (Modi) will certainly impose a challenge on us. He represents not just a managerial challenge. But he also represents an ideological challenge."
Immediately, he came under attack from the BJP, which condemned his controversial remarks.
But Congress was quick to distance itself from all of the Ramesh`s remarks.
The Minister, however, yesterday had dismissed suggestions that the Congress was afraid of the Gujarat Chief Minister.
"Why should we be afraid of Modi? Yes he won three elections in Gujarat. No doubt, he was a formidable campaigner," the Minister said when asked whether Modi posed a challenge for the Congress in the 2014 elections.
The Congress leader said that Modi is a "fact of life" as he was elevated by the BJP as chairman of its election board panel.
"We have to be content with that reality.... If BJP wants to commit suicide, why should we stop them," he had said.
Ramesh had also compared his party leader Rahul Gandhi and Modi--the two possible Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections, saying while Gandhi was trying to create a structure and a system in the country, Modi "is saying he is the system and the structure".
Ramesh was perhaps the first Congress leader to speak spoken about Modi as a "challenge" after generally being dismissive about him as just a leader of Gujarat.
He is not new to controversies. Once as Environment Minister he had criticised the home ministry from Beijing for stalling Chinese telecom projects because of security apprehensions.
Sometime back, the Rural Development Minister Ramesh kicked up an issue drawing flak from many quarters as he highlighted the sanitation situation in the country.