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'Hindu nationalist' Modi a leopard who won't change his spots: NCP

Jul 18, 2013 02:31 PM IST Politics Politics

Mumbai: As the Bharatiya Janata Party continues the strong Hindutva pitch with 'Hindu nationalist' posters in Mumbai, the Nationalist Congress Party has compared the party's poll campaign panel chief Narendra Modi to a leopard who doesn't change his spots. "The leopard never changes its spots. In the beginning, it appeared that their campaign will be development oriented but it's become clear what it will be now," said NCP leader Supriya Sule.

Meanwhile, the when asked if the cornerstone of the BJP's campaign will be Hindutva, the party's leader, Ashish Shelar said the party's poll plank will be development. "The campaign will be decided by central leadership and Rajnath Singh has said that it will focus on development and governance," Shelar said.

The BJP has put up posters of its campaign panel chief and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi posters across Mumbai. The posters show Modi declaring that he is a patriot and a Hindu nationalist.

The posters along with Modi's recent comments about being a Hindu nationalist in a Reuters interview seem to indicate that the BJP's PM contender intends to fight the next elections on Hindu themes. These posters come at a time when Modi is facing heat from his critics over his comments in the interview where he caled himself a Hindu nationalist.

Modi, in an interview to Reuters, had claimed innocence in the 2002 Gujarat riots and said he is a Hindu nationalist as he is born Hindu. "I am nationalist. I'm patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So I'm a Hindu nationalist. So yes, you can say I'm a Hindu nationalist because I'm a born Hindu," he had told Reuters.

Claiming to be innocent in the Gujarat riots, Modi had said that he would feel guilty if he did something wrong but that's not the case. Modi had also come under fire for his puppy remark during the interview. During the interview, Modi said, "While driving if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course it is."

Minority Affairs Minister Rehman Khan had hit out at Modi for his 'Hindu nationalist' remark saying, "There is nothing called Hindu or Muslim nationalist, there is only Indian nationalist."

"No one can change the character of any person. This is just the beginning of unveiling of his character, more will come out in future. Nitish always said Modi is fascist, Modi always treated minority with contempt," said JD(U) leader Sabir Ali.

These posters also come at a time when the BJP is set to finalise its poll campaign team and strategy. The BJP Parliamentary Board is scheduled to meet in New Delhi on Thursday to name its poll campaign team that will work under the campaign panel chief, Narendra Modi. The meeting will be chaired by party President Rajnath Singh and will be attended by all top leaders including LK Advani and Modi.

Sources say former party president Nitin Gadkari is likely to be named in-charge of poll bound Delhi and Rajasthan. The leaders in the board meeting are likely to discuss and finalise the election management mechanism for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The proposals before the board include constituting sub-committees on manifesto, mobilisation and publicity.