"One notices with curiosity that the Congress party is describing Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a great leader on its website when it is one of the worst critics of his performance as the Prime Minister of India and consciously downplays his exemplary performance of governance," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

No BJP leader can match Vajpayee’s stature: Congress

“This shows utter desperation. This public appreciation of Vajpayee is not very bona fide but trying to seek certain clutches to a Congress facing a very imminent defeat,” he added.

In the midst of a blistering poll campaign, the Congress on Friday heaped praise on Vajpayee to attack BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

The article published in the website of Indian National Congress (INC) states that Modi’s failure to control the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat was responsible for Vajpayee’s ouster in 2004.

“The founding president of the party, Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of India from 1998 until the NDA was defeated by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2004. Vajpayee was clear what was the reason for the defeat: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's failure to control the communal pogrom in his state in 2002,” it said.

According to the write up, Vajpayee believed that the party will lose its credibility unless it took action against Modi.
"Some people wanted to remove him. I was of the same opinion," the article quoted Vajpayee as saying in Manali.

“This is confirmed by Jaswant Singh, who held key portfolios in the NDA government. He stated that in 2002 Vajpayee had even threatened to resign unless the BJP took action against Modi,” it added.

The article said that fundamental cause of Vajpayee's pain was that Modi did not perform his ‘Rajdharma’.

“He did not fulfill his fundamental duty as the Chief Minister: protecting the lives of the people of Gujarat. Towards the last ebb of the Gujarat riots, Vajpayee urged Modi to ‘observe Rajdharma and not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or religion’. It is evident that Vajpayee believed that the Gujarat Chief Minister had been not only inept but downright partisan in his handling of the riots,” the article said.

The article further said Vajpayee believed that the government led by Modi was not doing enough to provide relief and rehabilitation to those who had been displaced during the riots.

“Vajpayee, even, wrote a series of letters to Modi instructing him to do all that is necessary for the riot victims, but to no avail. This raised the question that how can a person whom the tallest leader of the BJP wanted removed as Chief Minister, be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate?” the article said.

“Will a Chief Minister who failed to protect his citizens, who discriminated between people on the basis of religion, who made a mockery of people's suffering, ever make a good Prime Minister? How can a person who failed in his Rajdharma as Chief Minister ever ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of India?” it said.

The article also accused the saffron party, founded in 1980, of distancing itself from Vajpayee’s legacy, who served as the Prime Minister of India from 1988 to 2004.

“Having found a new icon in Modi, the BJP is working hard to distance itself from the Vajpayee legacy. Consider this. Vajpayee's niece, Karuna Shukla was forced to leave the party. She is presently with the Congress. Jaswant Singh, a close confidante of Vajpayee, has been expelled from the party. And Subramanian Swamy, a known adversary of Vajpayee who is even reported to have masterminded the downfall of the Vajpayee government in 1998, has been given a prominent place in the BJP!” the article said.

“The BJP might forget Vajpayee. But every Indian must ponder over the questions he raised on the man who is now the BJP's prime ministerial candidate,” the article added.


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