What Jairam said may be his personal view, he says

The Congress’ official line on the impact of the appointment of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the head of the BJP’s campaign committee has been that its battle is with the ideology that the BJP represents; not with one or other individual. So, on Friday, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh got a little rap on the knuckles from party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed for suggesting that Mr. Modi would pose a challenge for the Congress.

“Mr. Modi can be a challenge for the BJP and the NDA but not for the Congress. We do not consider him a challenge,” Mr. Ahmed said. “That is the considered view of the Congress party.” He was responding to questions on Mr. Ramesh’s comment that Mr. Modi “posed a managerial as well as an ideological challenge” to the Congress.

“What Jairam has said may be his personal view. Right now, he [Mr. Modi] has become a challenge for the BJP and the NDA itself,” Mr. Ahmed said. To a question as to whether this meant that the party leadership had pulled up the Minister, he said, “There is no question of pulling him up, defending or supporting him ...”

(On Thursday, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh described Mr. Modi as a Frankenstein’s monster and ‘Bhasmasur,’ a mythological character known for trying to destroy his creator. The Gujarat Chief Minister had “consumed” his mentor L.K. Advani, Mr. Ramesh had said.)

Indeed, earlier in the week, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and another party spokesman Raj Babbar took the line that the Congress was not at all concerned about Mr. Modi’s elevation, as everyone in the BJP subscribed to the same ideology.

Indeed, Mr. Sharma had said, “I think those who actually need to worry are the senior leaders within his party and the constituents of the NDA. He has been given a position by a divided party which is in disarray and rudderless.”

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