Varun Gandhi’s reported assessment of Narendra Modi rally is gift for Congress
New Delhi – Narendra Modi’s rally in Kolkata this week occupied prime real estate in the news for the comments he made there to an audience that appeared and was reported as massive. But Mr Modi’s younger party colleague, Varun Gandhi, was apparently unimpressed.
“It was okay…The crowd was at the most 45,000 to 50,000,” Mr Gandhi was reported as saying in The Indian Express. (Read Article) When contacted by NDTV, he said he did not want to comment on the story.
The 33-year-old is in charge of West Bengal for the BJP and was present at Wednesday’s rally, the first in Bengal for Mr Modi since he was picked by his party as its prime ministerial candidate.
The 64-year-old urged the crowd to vote for the BJP at the centre and lend its support within the state to Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister and leader of the Trinamool Congress. That advice seemed aimed as much at Ms Banerjee as it was at the audience, an early trawling for a possible post-poll alliance. (In Bengal, Narendra Modi targets Gandhis, says Pranab Mukherjee should have been PM in 1984 or 2004)
Mr Gandhi’s assessment about the crowd’s strength was appropriated by the Congress to suggest that the BJP leader’s crowd-pulling quotient is exaggerated by his party. “Varun Gandhi has exposed Modi. The BJP uses cranes to inflate the size of his audience”, said union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla.
Mr Gandhi and his mother Maneka, 57, are both parliamentarians from Uttar Pradesh. They are seen to be loyal to veteran BJP leader LK Advani who publicly and unsuccessfully challenged the party’s decision to announce Mr Modi as its presumptive prime minister.