‘I called him tiger because he has struck fear in RSS, BJP functionaries all over India’

Almost two weeks after he described Chief Minister Narendra Modi as “a national saint” and “tiger of Gujarat”, Congress Rajya Sabha member Vijay Darda said on Thursday that his comments were misconstrued and blown out of proportion by the media.

In an open letter in the Marathi daily Lokmat, he said said: “Modi is not a saint or a tiger. As a Chief Minister, he has been terrible. I repeat my words which I used for Modi after [the] 2002 Gujarat riots that Modi is a blood-sucking vampire.

“I described Modi as the political saint and not the national saint and I called him tiger because he has struck fear in the minds of RSS and BJP functionaries all over India.”

“I knew that my comments [at an award ceremony in Ahmedabad on July 29] would be blown out of proportion… I told Modi about my concern but he did not take it seriously and asked me to wait for his speech. Modi is an expert media manager and he used this opportunity to target all his detractors...,” he wrote.

It’s cowardice, says BJP

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said: “What Vijay Darda said was said publicly and everyone knows what he meant. Now to give a [different] twist to its meaning is an act of cowardice.”