Congress takes on Amit Shah, questions Popularity of PM Modi

New Delhi, Jan 10: Responding to BJP president Amit Shah's claim that former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh did not receive the kind of reception that incumbent Narendra Modi is receiving around the world, Congress said that the volumes of cheerleaders do not prove Modi's populairty. 

Criticising Modi and Shah, Congress leader Anand Sharma on Saturday said, "I am astonished by Amit Shah, the BJP president's claims that former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who was much respected around the world for his intellect and integrity, did not receive the kind of reception that Narendra Modi is receiving. It is actually far remote from truth".

"What do they mean by reception? If you take hundreds of cheerleaders from India and seek to organize public meetings in other countries, you are insulting the host country. Each nation is a sovereign nation, whether it is America, whether it is Australia, whether it is Japan," he added.

Addressing a rally at the Ramlila Maidan here earlier in the day, Shah had lavished praise on Prime Minister Modi and said that he gets a huge welcome on his trips abroad.

"Even Manmohan Singh used to go abroad; did he ever get such a huge welcome like Prime Minister Modi? Did he?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Sharma questioned the people in the BJP backing the "I, me and myself" culture promoted by Prime Minister Modi.

"They should be seriously concerned that here is a mindset which is I me myself and the world would think what about India. The others are also elected leaders of their country. It recently happened when he was to travel to Nepal, again he insisted to address three public meetings in Nepal that led to a general strike in Nepal, a bandh in Nepal, and eventually, the outcome was zero," he said.

Sharma further said Prime Minister Modi's claims that it is only he and his government who are thinking about this country needs to be scrutinized.

"First about the cleanliness drive, he has done nothing only renamed Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan to Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. His government has not sanctioned even one extra rupee, but the budget which was sanctioned for Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan and for other ministries has been diverted for his profile promotion and publicity," said Sharma.

"I demand that the Prime Minister and his government reveal how many hundred crores have been spent only on publicity and how much of the funds which was meant for welfare programmes which was meant for Nirmal Bharat have been taken away and misused," he added.

The Congress leader also questioned Prime Minister Modi's assertion that 11 crore accounts have been opened till January under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

"Secondly, about his claim on bank accounts, that 40 years after banks nationalization, it is only he and his government (that has done or achieved something significant), this is laughable. What is he trying to say that for 40 years the banks were not giving access to the poor people, they were not lending money to the poor people?" he asked.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi had accused the former Congress-led UPA government of doing nothing in the national capital during its ten-year long rule.

Addressing the BJP's election rally for Delhi Assembly elections at Ramlila Maidan, he said it is surprising that many important projects were pending for clearance for years in the city.

Asserting that his government is committed for the development of the nation, Prime Minister Modi said: "We took up the Jan Dhan Yojana. Years ago banks were nationalized but their doors did not open for the poor. Earlier could you see the poor in a bank? After Jan Dhan Yojana it is clear that who is working for the poor and who were not."

Prime Minister Modi, who also lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), urged the people to vote for the BJP with full majority in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections.