Narendra Modi backed but Kalam slammed by Advani

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Narendra Modi and LK Advani
New Delhi, Jul 8: Veteran leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and criticised former President Abdul Kalam. Advani in his blog claimed that no political leader in India's political history had been so systematically and viciously maligned as Modi.

While showing concern for Modi, Advani rejected the statement by Dr Kalam that he (Kalam) had faced objection from NDA government while visiting Gujarat during post riots period in 2002.

"NDA had never opposed former president APJ Abdul Kalam's decision to visit Gujarat at the height of riots in 2002," reads Advani's blog which he wrote on Sunday, Jul 8.

"Last week, the media carried some select news items based on a book of memoirs titled ‘Turning Points', written by former Rashtrapati Dr. Kalam. I was surprised to find reports supposed to be based on the book about Gujarat in which Vajpayeeji was being found fault with for trying to protect the Narendra Modi Government," Advani wrote in his blog.

"Dr. Kalam's book has not been released as yet. But I have been able to procure Chapter Nine of this book captioned "My Visit to Gujarat". Dr. Kalam says that his visit to Gujarat in August 2002 was his "first major task" after taking over as President," added Advani.

The BJP leader further quoted few more lines from 'Turning Points' - "Many apprehensions were expressed, among them that my visit might be boycotted by the chief minister, that I would receive a cold reception and that there would be agitations from many sides. But, to my great surprise when I landed at Gandhinagar, not only the chief minister, but his whole cabinet colleagues and a large number of legislative members and administrators including the public were present at the airport. I visited twelve areas - three relief camps and nine riot-hit locations where losses were high. Narendra Modi, the chief minister, was with me throughout the visit. In one way, this helped me, wherever I went, the type of petitions and complaints and as he was with me I was able to suggest to him that actions be taken as quickly as possible."

Quoting above lines from Kalam's book, Advani claimed, "I have often felt that in India's political history no political leader has been as systematically and viciously maligned as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Bhai Modi. Do not these reports also reveal a conscious effort at vilification."

Clarifying Atal Bihari Vajpayee's stand on the issue, Advani stated, "the Prime Minister's casual query "Do you consider going to Gujarat at this time essential" as the P.M. wanting to stop the President from going to Gujarat? Dr. Kalam has also referred to apprehensions he had heard that his visit may be boycotted. Dr. Kalam's actual experience was totally different."

Once again praising Modi, Advani said, "Modi and his government enthusiastically cooperated with Dr. Kalam. Yet no newsman thought it worthwhile to report these complimentary observations of his!"

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