New Delhi: The Congress on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “arrogant” over his remarks on redevelopment of the Kedarnath shrine after the flash floods of 2013, saying he has disrespected the people of Uttarakhand and also slammed him for wearing “Italian glasses” at the holy place.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi does baba’s darshan wearing an Italian brand Bulgari glasses. Similarly, he promises to develop a ‘New India’ through those Italian glasses,” said Congress spokesperson R.P.N. Singh.
“He spoke with arrogance at baba’s shrine,” he said and added this is the first time somebody gave a speech with his back towards the shrine.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, in a video message, said: “By visiting Kedarnath today (Friday), Modiji has not only disrespected people of Uttarakhand but also showed his arrogance.”
His remarks came after the Prime Minister accused the Congress of rejecting his proposal of redeveloping the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath after the devastating flash floods in 2013.
Firing salvos at Modi, Surjewala asked: “After the 2013 disaster, is it only Modiji who is capable of redeveloping Uttarakhand? Was the work done by the then state government, people and the devotees of Lord Shiva to redevelop Kedarnath a waste? Out of 130 crore people, is none capable of redeveloping Kedarnath other than Modiji?”
He said: “When the ruler turns arrogant, then his downfall is very close.”
He urged the Prime Minister to not disrespect the people of the state, saying: “Lord Shiva does not ask for help, he asks for devotion.”
“And those who devote themselves towards the Lord get the fruits of their devotion. Modiji should maintain at least some humility at the door of Lord Shiva,” Surjewala added.
Singh also attacked the Prime Minister for the redevelopment work of the shrine. “After devastating flash floods in 2013, the UPA government formed a Cabinet Committee, which sanctioned Rs 8,000 crore for the redevelopment. Our government had already released Rs 2,200 crore out of the total amount.”
“This government (BJP) has not released even a ruppee after Rs 2,200 crore was released by the Congress government,” he added.
Attacking Modi over his remarks that when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he tried helping in the redevelopment work, Singh said there is no record available in the Uttarakhand Chief Minister’s office of such an effort being made.
“Modi, as Gujarat Chief Minister, had also said his government had rescued 5,000 Gujarati people. But the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand during that time, Vijay Bahuguna, had mentioned that no other government had worked towards the rescue of the victims. Only the state government was involved in rescue work,” he added.
Continuing his attack, Singh said: “He also said he is Baba’s son. This is just a political gimmick before the elections (Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat).”
Slamming Modi for saying that “he is the only person who can work towards redevelopment of the shrine”, Singh said “no other person can protect the shrine except Baba Kedarnath”.
“Everyone can only visit the shrine as a devotee. Even Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi went there as a devotee. One cannot go there as an arrogant person.”
“He (Modi) also said he went there as the doors of the shrine were in the verge of getting closed. But, he has already closed the doors for the farmers, youth, poor, businessmen by implementing the GST and demonetisation. But, he did not say anything about it.”