New Delhi: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said the fear of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi emerging as a national leader was more pronounced in the BJP ranks than in the Congress.
Participating in a discussion on an Indian channel on Friday, Aiyar said: "The fear of Narendra Modi is much more pronounced in the BJP ranks than it is in the Congress ranks."
"There is Arun Jaitley attempting to become the prime minister notwithstanding his educational background, there is Sushma Swaraj attempting to do the same, there is Advani (LK Advani) once again climbing a rath in the hope that it will take him to political success. The party is so divided within for fear of Narendra Modi converting himself from a state leader to a national leader."
Aiyar added: "The Congress does not need to fear the rise of Narendra Modi, but as Indians we need to fear the rise of Modi because Modi represents the sheer antithesis of everything that has gone into the making of the Indian nation."
Aiyar admitted that communalism had infected members of the Congress.
Aiyar said: "I had said in the 2002 elections that I would like to campaign in Godhra, and on the 6th of Dec - the Babri anniversary - I reached the airport and was told that and I was told you can`t go to Godhra."
"I land in Ahmedabad and my party people say it`s better for you to stay in your hotel. I went out to attend a meeting and was told not to use the word secularism. I think there is something sick in creating a society in which it is regarded as politically incorrect to be secular."
"Instead of a robust response coming from the Congress party which I would like to see, we have a muted response.”
"We really need to stand up and be counted and say as Nehru said I don`t care how many elections I lose.”
"But, we have to stand up for the secular principles which are the basis of Indian nationhood...”
"That is the basis on which we should campaign in Gujarat and not see whether we can win the 2012 elections or not," Aiyar said.