‘They smack of a lack of knowledge of judiciary’

Launching a counter-attack on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his remarks that giving a clean chit to its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in the 2020 Gujarat riots was “far too premature,” the BJP said on Monday that they indicated lack of maturity.

The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team had given a clean chit to Mr. Modi, BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar told journalists. “Such remarks smack of a lack of…knowledge of the judiciary, if not amounting to contempt of court.”

‘Strategy’

He described the BJP’s decision to field Mr. Modi from Varanasi as a “strategy” to create a positive impact in favour of the party in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which together account for 120 Lok Sabha seats. “Whichever party wins two-thirds of the seats from here is bound to get the required numbers in the Lok Sabha to form a government.”

Asked whether Mr. Modi was looking for a safer seat in Gujarat in the wake of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal announcing his intention to contest from Varanasi, he replied in the negative. However, he asked journalists to wait for the “surprises” in terms of the names of candidates to be announced for Gujarat.

Mr. Kumar had to confront questions on his statement that the contest in Bangalore South Lok Sabha was not between him and Congress candidate Nandan Nilekani, but actually a fight between Mr. Modi and Mr. Gandhi.

18 days’ love

Asked why he was taking refuge under Mr. Modi’s name despite being a five-time MP and why he was not seeking votes on the basis of his performance, he said these were not municipal polls, but crucial elections to decide the prime minister. “I am seeking votes on my performance, too. I am confident that the people will recognise my 18 years of achievements rather than my opponent’s 18 days’ love for Bangalore.”

“I am proud of our leader and my party. But my opponent may be embarrassed to seek votes in the name of his leader and party’s symbol,” he said.

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