Narendra Modi's elevation as BJP's prime ministerial candidate drew sharp reactions today as Congress alleged that he was "desperate" to grab power while other parties feared further communalisation.
Samajwadi Party said Modi's effect is only confined to cities due to the media, and he should be termed as "PM-in-waiting".
Congress leaders also suggested that the BJP had committed "political suicide" by nominating Modi as the PM candidate after leaders like Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani were rejected by people of the country.
Criticising Modi for his "I, me, myself" style, Congress leaders also reminded that unlike the Gujarat Chief Minister, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi takes everybody along and delegates responsibilities while not offending any section.
Terming Modi's ambition a pipe-dream, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, "...That shows that he is delusional, he is desperate. "I can say that with certainty that he will always be speaking from the ramparts of replicas and not from the real Red Fort and not address the real Parliament that is for sure because that misfortune will never visit people of India." Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said the BJP will significantly contribute to the formation of UPA-III by deciding to project "so divisive a person as Modi".
CPI-M leader Prakash Karat said, "BJP cannot be an option to Congress. They have projected Narendra Modi as PM candidate. This means BJP will now make policies in favour of the big capitalists and corporates in the country. Moreover, he is a candidate of RSS. So he will adopt a policy of spreading communalism in our country."
JD-U leader Sharad Yadav said,"Anybody can be garlanded and hailed within his own party. Every party can do it, but the country is very big. This secularism, the practice to take everybody along is the foundation of the country and is necessary to keep the country united. If we go beyond, that it will lead to destruction."
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said,"He is an accused in the eyes of the public. People of the country will decide whether it is good to vote such an accused or not. We don't consider it an election related to Modi. We consider it an election related to communalism, RSS and the politics of riots. We are against another division of India."
NCP's DP Tripathi said, "UPA does not have to think very much to counter Modi. The announcement of his candidature has strengthened the UPA. The minorities everywhere in the country, in all parts of the country, will rally behind UPA and Modi will prove a disaster for the BJP." Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said, "Maximum dispute on Modi's name has come from BJP itself. The country will witness what happens to him in 2014."
Another Congress leader Rashid Alvi said under directions of RSS, BJP announced Modi as PM candidate despite opposition from various senior leaders. "It is impossible for Narendra Modi to become Prime Minister. But in case he takes over our country, then it will be the last democratic election because he does not believe in having democracy. Senior leaders of BJP know this but are somehow quiet in saying so," Alvi said, adding, "My best wishes to Modi to continue as PM-in-waiting for 10 years."
Aiyar said, "He (Modi) is so divisive that even his own party ranks are riven with dissent over his choice. In the nation as a whole, he has polarised the conflict between communal and secular forces. But if the BJP chooses like lemmings to commit political suicide who are we to object." Comparing Rahul Gandhi's working style and personality to that of Modi, Rural Minister Jairam Ramesh attacked the Gujarat Chief Minister saying he harps on "main, main, main" (I, me, myself).
"Some persons in our country harp that I did this, I did that. I will do that)...I have a magic wand to solve all problem", Ramesh said.
Another Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi dismissed as "false equation" BJP's attempt to project the Lok Sabha poll as a Rahul Gandhi vs Narendra Modi affair.