London: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has accused Narendra Modi of running a presidential- style campaign and said the principles of parliamentary democracy must be preserved.
"The BJP is now led by a self-proclaimed and determined prime ministerial candidate. First time in our country such a leader is actually running a presidential campaign to be Prime Minister," the senior Congress party leader said during his speech on `Challenges of Democracy in India` at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London last evening.
"We have certain principles as a parliamentary democracy and those principles must be preserved," he told reporters after the speech.
Khurshid, who is in London on a three-day visit to attend the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting tomorrow, defended the use of the word "impotent" in reference to Modi.
"I did not mean impotence in the context in which it was taken. I had charged him because he went around saying he had 57 inches chest and called my leader (Congress President Sonia Gandhi) `dus numbri`. I think the problem was from his side, not from my side," Khurshid said in response to a question from the audience largely comprised of students.
"If he stopped using terms like `dus numbri` and 57 inch `chaati`, we will also be able to talk in serious terms," he said.
Khurshid also faced some heckling over the Kashmir issue at the event organised by SOAS` newly-formed South Asia Institute.
"I was four years old when I first went to Kashmir and have a sense and feel for Kashmir. I go there often. There are different points of view on the issue. My view is that we defined India in a particular way in 1947 and we are very sad that the definition we gave to India, people tried to qualify and defeat that definition to an extent we lost. But we can`t turn the clock back," he told an agitated female student in the audience, offering to come back to SOAS to speak exclusively on the subject.
Khurshid will hold bilateral talks with his British counterpart foreign secretary William Hague and will leave for India after the CMAG meeting tomorrow.