Openly batting for Modi as a Prime Minister, 90-year-old Jethmalani said the Gujarat Chief Minister has come as a "avatar" to rid this country of its ills and deserves to be the PM, and he would be "ashamed if Rahul Gandhi becomes the PM, as he was just not equipped for that job." "Modi was not anti-Muslim by any shred of imagination instead, he is a protector of the Muslims, who love him and this is what precisely worries the Congress party," the veteran lawyer said while addressing a seminar on the topic "Modi's relevance in today's political scenario" organised by a lawyers' body here this evening.
Claiming that those who portray him as anti-Muslim were doing so under a "deep-rooted conspiracy", he said if Muslims would have been anti-Modi, then how come he has been repeatedly winning elections in his state.
"He won the last Assembly polls with a thumping majority and 31 per cent Muslims voted for him. This has been frustrating for the Congress," he said, adding he won February 2002 bypolls from Rajkot constituency with a thumping margin despite BJP dissidents supporting a powerful Congressman.
"The leaders of 28 Muslim organisations openly supported him enabling him to win from Rajkot and this made the Congress party nervous. Modi won first election on Muslim support," he said, adding that Muslims of Gujarat, particularly of the Kutch region had started greatly admiring him after they saw how he served the quake victims that included a large number of people from the community as well.
The senior lawyers said that on the morning of February 27, 2002 when he was to announce his budget in the State Assembly and express his gratitude to the Muslims for their support, "the unfortunate incident of Godhra happened." Jethmalani further said that Modi deserves to be the PM while Rahul Gandhi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal were "unfit" for the office. "I am not praising Modi with any eye on any post," he said.
He also attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying "he was there to keep the seat warm (for Rahul)...I will be ashamed if Rahul becomes PM, he is just not equipped for that job."
Asked about his views about Kejriwal, he said, when AAP was formed, he not only welcomed the party but also gave handsome donation.
"I was of the belief that they would do something against corruption. I had welcomed him (Kejriwal) publicly. However, one fine day, (AAP's) founding father (and noted lawyer) Prashant Bhushan said that he prefers Rahul (Gandhi) to Modi.
I was shocked beyond my wits. I said I must have done a foolish thing that I welcomed their party and send them money as contribution," Jethmalani said.
The senior lawyer said he wrote a letter to Kejriwal seeking his response to what Bhushan had said, but he chose not to reply for 10 days and finally sent his aides with a letter for him.
"His aides handed over a letter to me. Kejriwal wrote that I was a 90-year-old and that I was in the habit of speaking lies and BJP has expelled me...At 90 years of age, seek forgiveness from God and people, this is what Kejriwal wrote.
I was taken aback... At the age of 90 he is advising me what I should do," he said.
Attacking Congress for its failure to bring black money stashed in banks abroad back, Jethmalani said "Though Swiss Bankers Association had stated that Indians own the majority of money stashed in their country."
He alleged the government did not took action despite Supreme Court's order to bring the black money back and even a notice was issued on his behalf to some senior functionaries of the Central Government to comply with the order.
"$1,500 billion of India's wealth is stashed in tax havens in foreign countries, mainly Switzerland. It's Rs 90 lakh crore! If the money was available in India, every Indian family would get Rs three lakh each, no child will starve, no poor man will starve," he claimed.
Jethmalani said that the German government had announced that they were ready to share without cost, without condition the details of those having accounts aboard as they have procured their details.
"I assure you if Modi was the Prime Minister, he would have taken the first flight to Germany and brought back the record. This is why I say will be Modi's guarantor without him having appointed me as one because he is sincere and honest," he said.
The former BJP MP also attacked Congress President Sonia Gandhi alleging that she had committed a "blunder" by meeting Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari.
"Congress speaks about secularism but seeks support of Muslim clerics for votes. The party had been following vote bank politics, and it was a dangerous strategy," he said.
"When Anna Hazare was staging a fast against corruption and black money, Bukhari had urged Muslims not to support it as they would have to sing 'Vande Madharam' there," he said, adding Gandhi should have made him to apologise for disrespecting the song, instead she urged for his help.