Denying in a series of tweets that it had called Modi ‘incorruptible’, the whistle-blower website tweeted details of a number of observations made by the US Embassy on Modi's leadership style in a secret cable in 2006. Narendra Modi was trending on Twitter on Tuesday -- thanks to certain uncomplimentary observations by a US consulate official describing him as an "insular and distrustful person" and which have been published on Wikileaks. JPN/Agencies
The comments attributed to Assange were in fact made by Gujarat Congress leader Manoharsinh Jadeja who told a visiting US Embassy official that the Gujarat Chief Minister is "extremely popular" because he is viewed as someone who is completely "incorruptible" and can deliver the goods, it said.
The website identified Priti Gandhi, co-convener of Maharashtra BJP Communication Cell, as the one pushing the "fake endorsement" which was latched on to by Modi's online supporters as a high-profile acknowledgement of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate's credentials.
The clarification came against the backdrop of some BJP supporters circulating posters in Ahmedabad quoting Assange saying that ‘America is scared of Modi because he is incorruptible’.
WikiLeaks also went on to tweet other secret cables sent by the US Embassy in 2006 which have criticized Modi's style of functioning.
"Views remain divided on whether Modi's leadership style will help or harm him if he enters national politics. In public, Modi can be charming and likable. By all accounts, however, he is an insular, distrustful person... He reigns more by fear and intimidation than by inclusiveness and consensus, and is rude, condescending and often derogatory to even high level party officials. He hoards power...," one such diplomatic cable under a sub-heading ‘Modi's Leadership Style’ said.
The US Embassy, though, added that all of its interlocutors acknowledged that Modi is a modest man ‘who, unlike many elected officials in India, has not used his position to enrich himself or his family’.
"Most contacts also say that he has purged the state administration of petty corruption at the mid and lower levels of the bureaucracy. However, several people tell us that big ticket corruption is still common," it added.
Modi is 'distrustful person' trending on Twitter
While some gleefully played up certain uncomplimentary observations about Modi, a few others felt the Gujarat strongman needed nobody's certificate and that all knew how good he was.
While one of the tweets read: "@friendscongress US ambassador: Modi 'insular, distrustful person.. reigns by fear and intimidation.. hoards power..", another felt that Wikileaks was using Modi's name for publicity.
"Modi does not not need any certificate from Wikileaks.. we all know how good Modiji is..," said @kunalchoudhary9 in his tweet.
In the post, also released on the Wikileaks Twitter handle, US Consul General Michael S. Owen makes a number of observations on the Gujarat chief minister's style of functioning, how the voters in his state perceive him and his ambitions of running for the post of India's prime minister.
US official gives some interesting insight when he says that while Modi "can be charming and likeable in public appearances, he is a distrustful person who rules with a small group of advisors".
Modi, who is often seen as trying to strike a chord with the masses and saying at public rallies that he is like the common man, is described as someone who has his group of advisors - "his inner circle" - that act as a "buffer" between him and his party and cabinet.
The official writes that Modi, the prime ministerial hopeful pitched by the country's largest opposition party, is someone who "reigns more by fear and intimidation than by inclusiveness and consensus".
Owen writes that Modi is "rude", "hoards power" and often leaves his ministers in the dark when making decisions affecting their portfolios.
BJP plays down WikiLeaks tweets
The BJP, however, downplayed the WikiLeaks tweets. "We don't need a certificate from WikiLeaks or Assange on Modiji," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
The controversy dates back to 2006, when Mumbai-based US Consul General Michael S Owen, according to WikiLeaks, met Modi. WikiLeaks tweeted the secret cable on the minutes of the meeting in which it was also stated that US Embassy in Delhi had cleared the document.
Denying in a series of tweets that it had called Modi ‘incorruptible’, the whistle-blower website tweeted details of a number of observations made by the US Embassy on Modi's leadership style in a secret cable in 2006.
Narendra Modi was trending on Twitter on Tuesday -- thanks to certain uncomplimentary observations by a US consulate official describing him as an "insular and distrustful person" and which have been published on Wikileaks.