By Aglaia Staff

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi may need to guard against any more errors and mistakes over historical references if he is to avoid being targeted by political rivals as inattentive to detail and facts.

Though BJP managers do not think Modi’s pro-change image has been hurt by allegations of factual inaccuracies, they are taking note of the leader being tagged as hasty with opinions based on incorrect assumptions.

300px NarendaraModi Narendra Modi Must Guard Against Historical Slip Ups: Party

Visit aglaia.co.in English: Narendra Modi in Press Conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest instance of Modi slipping up in a speech where he confused a Gujarati freedom fighter with Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookherjee has given rise to some concern over the BJP PM hopeful losing gravitas unless he takes corrective action.

BJP sources felt Modi needs to guard against such slip-ups although he did correct himself towards the end of his speech when it was pointed out that the person he had in mind was Shyamji Krishna Varma and not Mookerjee.

The Modi camp feels that despite a Congress campaign to label him a “Feku (braggart)”, the CM has held his own by targeting the UPA troika of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

In Modi’s defence, BJP spokespersons accuse Congress of using “Goebbels formula” to spread “lies” about Modi as the ruling party found itself unable to counter him politically. They say Modi may have made a mistake or a slip-of-tongue, but he has also corrected himself and this has not been highlighted adequately.

Referring to recent cases BJP spokesperson Lekhi said “On the issue of Shyama Prasad Mookherjee and Shyamji Varma, it was a slip-of-tongue which was corrected. But the correction was not carried by the media.”

On Modi’s speech at Patna and the confusion over Chandragupta of the Gupta and Maurya dynasty, Lekhi said, “There are three great rulers by the name of Chandragupta in our history. When Modi talked about Chandragupta in Patna, he referred to Chandragupta II of the Gupta dynasty also known as Vikramaditya.”

But the “Feku” line of attack should make Modi wary of goof-ups that will promptly become fodder for his critics and feed into criticism that the leader is a man in a hurry who can bend facts or misinterpret events.

Sunday’s reference to Varma as Mookherjee may not have been a deliberate misrepresentation, but the scrutiny will be less sparing when it comes to other issues like his previous reference to China spending 20% of its GDP on education.

What Modi meant was there had been a 20% increase in spending on education rather than a percentage of GDP as he sought to argue that China’s investments in human resource are paying off in terms of top ranked universities.

The inaccuracy allowed minister of state for HRD Shashi Tharoor collaring Modi for a “false” claim. There after there have been a few other instances, such as a reference to Chandragupta where he was accused of mixing up dynasties.

In the Hunkaar rally in Patna, Modi has been accused to stretching history by saying the ancient city of Taxila(Present day Punjab in the country across the border) north-west of Islamabad was in Bihar or that Alexander was defeated by the Ganges.

Lekhi said Modi mentioned the Magadh empire which in ancient days included both the centres of learning. She said the attacks on Modi were meant to divert attention from real issues like how Bihar was a centre of learning and its current deprived state. “This is what the real debate is about,” she said.

She added the same went for the Taxila-Nalanda controversy generated by Modi’s speech in Patna. “Taxila and Nalanda were centres of learning in India that are mentioned together like Oxford and Cambridge,” she said.

In these cases, Modi could have been more clear and specific while suggesting that the power of ancient kingdoms of what is today’s Bihar had the capacity of stalling the all-conquering Alexander.

Modi’s reported interview to a newspaper in which he allegedly said Jawaharlal Nehru did not attend the funeral of Sardar Vallabhai Patel was denied by the publication, but added to the view that the saffron leader took liberties with facts to suit his political view of history.

Some of the criticism leveled against the BJP PM candidate may not have been justified, but if the leader doesn’t pay more attention to what he is saying during his whirlwind campaign for the current assembly polls, he could end up providing traction to his critics.

 

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