Bengaluru: Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making a "U-turn" on his stand on minorities, the Indian National Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Tuesday questioned Modi's role as the west Indian Gujarat state chief minister and expressed surprise that he had suddenly turned "spokesman" for the community.
Referring to Modi's remarks made at BJP's national council meeting in Kozhikode on Sunday, the Congress general secretary asked what Modi had done to empower the minorities when he was the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014.
"The prime minister is speaking our language. It was very surprising to know that Narendra Modi has suddenly become spokesman for the minority community in this country," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a Congress meeting here.
He said, "The 'minorityism' which was the charge that was levelled against us, now Narendra Modi is talking about empowering the minorities. Did he empower the minorities when he was the chief minister of Gujarat? Did he take action against those involved in Gujarat riots?
"Is he not the same person who denied the Muslims of Gujarat the scholarship which was sanctioned by the government of India? Is he not the same person who refused to rehabilitate the Gujarat riot victims, is he not the same person who sort of manipulated the prosecution in Gujarat riots? It is a complete U-turn," he said.
Contending that the definition of secularism has been distorted, Modi had on Sunday invoked Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay to say that Muslims are "not substance of hate" nor should they be considered as "items of vote market" but should be treated as "your own".
Refusing to comment on the measures adopted by the Centre post the Uri terror attack and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's speech at the UN General Assembly, Singh said "we don't do politics" on matters of security.
"As far as the Congress party is concerned we have serious differences with the approach of the Bharatiya Janata Party government, the NDA government, but on the matters of internal security we don't want to do politics," he said.
"She (Sushma Swaraj) was representing the country in the UN General Assembly not as a BJP leader, but as the External Affairs Minister of India, therefore let us not get into it," he said.
To a question on the demand for repealing of MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status to Pakistan, Singh said the Congress has always held as former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said: "We can't change our neighbour, and for a lasting peace in the area with our neighbours we should have a continues dialogue on issues."
Responding to another question, he said, "Both the countries have great problems at socio-economic level and therefore what is more important is peace and harmony so that we can remove illiteracy, malnutrition and poverty rather than spending money on defence and confronting each other."
Condemning Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and controversial BJP MLA Sangeet Som for their comments against Pakistani artistes following the Uri terror attack, Singh said such things further aggravate the situation.
He said, "MNS has been blackmailing by giving such threats and compromising later for obvious reasons."
Stating that BJP has got "forked tongue", he said they speak one language at one time, other language at other time.
"Just go through the statements made by Narendra Modi when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat and now as the Prime Minister of India... absolutely contradictory statements made and he has now realised every policy of UPA government which he criticised, he has not only adopted it, but is taking credit for it," he added.