Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh k Srivastava
Lucknow: In what is likely to provide a new weapon to Congress for attacking the main opposition party, which has been trying to put up a united front since the beginning of Lok Sabha polls, its senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi was on Monday caught on camera threatening the reporters not to ask questions on his party`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
In the midst of an interview to Zee Media, MM Joshi asked the reporter to focus on the national issues and not ask questions relating to Modi.
When asked to react if there is Modi wave in the country, especially in Kanpur from where he is contesting the Lok Sabha polls, an apparently uncomfortable Joshi said there is a wave in favour of his party and its prime ministerial candidate.
“BJP`s poll campaign posters in Kanpur have both me as well as Modi. There is wave in favour of both..why are you just sticking to Modi ...I told you earlier to ask questions on national issues..plz delete all that,” the BJP veteran said.
The senior BJP leader even demanded the crew to show him the footage of the entire interview and asked them to delete it to avoid any controversy.
When the Zee Media crew protested and requested Joshi not to fix the interview, the senior BJP leader threatened them and said that they will not be able to move out of his house.
Joshi not only reviewed the entire footage but also deleted it to avoid any controversy.
Just few days ago, Joshi had said that there is no Modi wave in the country, but a BJP wave.
Joshi even said that the wave is not personalised but it is representative of the party.
"This wave or that wave, Modi is a representative of the party as a PM candidate. So, it`s not a highly personalised thing, it is a representative wave. He gets the support from different parts of the country, from different sections of the society and from all leaders of the BJP," Joshi had told a Malayalam news channel.
Joshi, who was shifted to Kanpur by the BJP to make way for Modi to contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi, also spoke on the expulsion of Jaswant Singh from the party.
"If it could have been avoided, I think it would be better. It`s true that this decision was taken by the president and the chief minister but not as a behind-the-back decision. It was almost certain that they will decide it. Yes, but the fact that Mr Jaswant Singh will not be given a ticket, did not come for discussion," Joshi said.
Joshi, who headed the BJP manifesto committee, also suggested that the Gujarat model of development touted by Modi cannot be made applicable for all states.
"It is now the developmental model of the country as presented by BJP. In a country like India, what developmental model is true for Jammu and Kashmir or Arunachal Pradesh, may not be true for Kerala. So to say that this model or that model - no. So some good points may be there, some good points from the government of Tripura will also be there, it is not some straitjacket model," he added.
The development has evoked sharp reaction non-BJP parties, including Congress,
Congress` Akhilesh Pratap Singh said , “My party has never done such things. Freedom of media should not be curtailed.”
Though there has been no reaction from the BJP on the Joshi episode, its candidate from Patna Saheb Shatrughan Sinha said, “This should not have happened. It is against the freedom of media.”
Interestingly, Sinha, known to be a close aide of LK Advani, was once a known Modi critic.