NEW DELHI: Just a day after India assumed the presidency of the coveted G20, the Congress quoted senior BJP leader LK Advani and attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling him a “brilliant event manager”. The BJP reacted by calling Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as “The Prince”, its leader Jairam Ramesh as the “travel manager” and the party’s ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra as a “tour”.
The prime minister, while campaigning for the BJP candidates in the ongoing Gujarat assembly election, has been mentioning the taking over of the G20 presidency by India on December 1 as a matter of pride for all citizens.
Addressing an election rally in Kalol on Thursday for the second phase of assembly elections, PM Modi said it was a historic day for India. “With the blessings of Maa Kalika, today is an auspicious day for the presidency of India to begin in the G20. This is a matter of great pride for all of us,” he said.
Congress MP and general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh hit out at Modi for staging a “high voltage drama” about the G20 presidency.
While talking to media persons at Agar in Madhya Pradesh on Friday during Rahul Gandhi-led Congress’s ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, Ramesh quoted Advani to train the party’s guns at Modi.
Ramesh also tweeted to lash out at the PM and said, “The Presidency of G20 is rotational and India’s Presidency was inevitable. Previous presidents of G20 have been USA, UK, Canada, South Korea, France, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Turkey, China, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Italy and Indonesia. None of these countries staged a high voltage drama as is being done around India becoming president of G20 for a year. I’m reminded of what LK Advani said on 5.4.2014 in Gandhinagar – he called Mr Modi a brilliant event manager. That’s all there is to all the spin around G20.”
While quoting Advani, the Congress leader was referring to the veteran BJP leader’s remarks about Modi on April 6, 2014.
Modi, then the Gujarat chief minister and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, had accompanied Advani to Gandhinagar where the latter had gone to file his nomination papers for the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Both the leaders addressed a public meeting in which Modi heaped praise on Advani recounting his contribution to build the party. He appealed to the people to make Advani victorious with a massive margin.
When Advani’s turn came to address the people, he said, “I will not call Narendrabhai my protege, but I have never seen a more brilliant and efficient events manager than him. And he had brought this event management capacity to governance also. That has made him more suitable for the assignment that the party has given him.”
Ramesh has used Advani’s remarks to hit out at Modi for calling India’s G20 presidency as a matter of pride for all citizens.
BJP reacts to Jairam Ramesh’s barb
The BJP hit back at the Congress for barb at Modi over G20 presidency. Rejecting the Congress’s allegation that the PM was treating the presidency as an event, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, in two tweets, said only those who worshipped a family would sulk whenever India shined.
Without naming the Nehru-Gandhi family or anyone else, the minister took a jibe at the Congress’s ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, terming it a “tour”, calling Rahul Gandhi “The Prince” and Ramesh as “travel manager”.
Pradhan said, “India’s G20 presidency is a watershed moment and not an event. A tour and travel manager of ‘The Prince’ waiting for him to come of age will of course fail to differentiate this. Those duty-bound to worship a family are the only ones sulking every time India shines. The world trusts and acknowledges the prowess of this #NewIndia. There’s no spin to it. One can ignore it due to his/ her political alignment. 130 crore+ Indians see India’s G20 presidency as an opportunity to showcase their best. Congress is free to show what it is best at.”
BJP-Congress clashes over G20
This is not the first time that the Congress and the BJP have clashed over India getting the presidency of G20. The Congress had objected to the depiction of a lotus in the official logo for G20 Summit held in Indonesia on November 15 and 16.
Jairam Ramesh criticised Prime Minister Modi over the use of lotus in the official logo for G20 Summit. He said, “Seventy years ago, there was a proposal to make the Congress flag as the national flag but Nehru refused it. He said that the national flag would have Ashoka Chakra and three colours. That was Nehru and the Indian National Congress. Now the PM unveiled the official logo for G20 Summit which has lotus, election symbol of BJP. This is the difference between Congress and BJP,” he said.
“While shocking, we know by now that PM Modi and BJP won’t lose any opportunity to promote themselves shamelessly,” Ramesh added.
Further, while welcoming the G-20 summit, Ramesh said, again without naming PM Modi, that the summit in India next year would be “milked by the world’s greatest event manager for the Lok Sabha elections a year later”.
He tweeted, “G20, a grouping of 19 major economies and the European Union was set up in 1999. Since 2008 an annual summit is held in each member country IN TURN. Each country gets a chance and India will host the summit in 2023. It’s certainly to be welcomed like similar summits held earlier”.
The Congress communications chief further said, “The Non-aligned Summit of over 100 countries took place in New Delhi in 1983 followed by the Commonwealth Summit. The 2023 Summit will of course be milked by the world’s greatest event manager for the Lok Sabha elections a year later to distract from real issues of the people.”