Against the backdrop of the polls in Bihar, CPI today slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, charging that he had “lowered the quality of the public discourse”, and also sought a response from him on the claims of rising intolerance in the country.
Taking exception to comments by Modi at poll rallies in Bihar, CPI national secretary D Raja insisted that political outfits should use the election forum to discuss only their programmes and policies devoted to the public.
Referring to Modi raking up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots issue and making barbs about “Nitish Kumar’s DNA” and “shaitan” during campaigning, Raja said that the prime minister should instead come clear on his response to the charge of growing “intolerance” in the country.
“Since the beginning (of campaigning), the way he (Modi) raised the issue of DNA, shaitan (Satan), one after the other, he has lowered the quality of public discourse in an election.
“In an election, parties will have to speak on election programmes, policies, governance. Instead of that, it is the prime minister who has lowered the quality of campaigning to such a level,” charged Raja.
Speaking at a public meeting in Bihar’s Purnea, Modi today sought to counter Congress over the issue of “intolerance”, saying the Sonia Gandhi-led party should hang its head in shame for the 1984 carnage instead of doing the “drama” of lecturing the NDA government.
Referring to Modi’s remarks, Raja said it was the prime minister who should hang his head in shame for the 2002 Gujarat riots, when he was chief minister of the western state, and demanded that he respond to questions being raised about the “atmosphere of intolerance” in the country.
“What happened in 1984 should not have happened and everyone condemns it. But if Modi speaks about the Sikh riots, then what is his response to the 2002 Gujarat massacre? Who has to hang his head in shame for the same?
“Now, Modi is the prime minister. What is his response to the growing intolerance in the country?” he asked.