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Congress, BJP spar over heckling of CMs at Modi events


New Delhi, Aug 21 :

The Congress and the BJP Thursday sparred over heckling faced by chief ministers at official functions addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress termed the heckling “orchestrated” while the Bharatiya Janata Party described the sloganeering as a reflection of unpopularity of incumbent governments.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the chief ministers faced sloganeering as they were “non-performing”.

“They did not perform in their states. That’s why their own public, the public which elected them, elevated them as chief minister, today is really annoyed with them. That’s why they are showing the door to the chief ministers,” Patra said.

Referring to an incident during a function in Kaithal Tuesday in which Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was jeered at, Patra said it would be absurd to say that a sizeable section of the state’s population had become BJP workers.

Upset at the jeering, Hooda said he will not attend any function of the prime minister or union ministers if the Haryana BJP leadership did not change its attitude.

In the presence of Modi, Hooda was continuously booed throughout his brief speech at the public function for the foundation stone-laying ceremony of a national highway connecting Haryana and Rajasthan.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had Wednesday said he will not attend the foundation stone laying of the Nagpur metro rail project by Modi.

Chavan said there was a possibility of ruckus by BJP workers as it happened in Haryana.

Congress leaders said Chavan was heckled by BJP activists at a function attended by Modi in Raigad.

Both Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir will go for assembly polls later this year.

BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the Congress should accept that people voicing their protest reflected unpopularity of the chief minister.

He said it was wrong for the Congress to say that the prime minister was responsible for any adverse reaction in a gathering attended by lakhs of people.

“The Congress should accept that somewhere it is a reflection of the anger against the state government. The displeasure is the main reason. We feel this should not happen but if does, Congress should take stock,” Rudy said.

Congress leader Manish Tewari justified the reaction of the party’s chief ministers.

He said it was a case of gross impropriety “if government functions are used for orchestrated politics”.

“No chief minister, in his right mind, would have possibly gone this route if evidence of orchestration was not in front of us,” Tewari told CNN-IBN news channel.

He said it does not require rocket science to know that crowds were planted and people motivated to create disruptions.

“These are tactics which are employed but to be employed by the prime minister, I think, is a little low. Therefore, a self-respecting person backs off and says ‘I give you the time’,” he said.

Tewari said popularity and unpopularity of a chief minister will be gauged in the elections.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren also faced some awkward moments Thursday as BJP activists raised slogans hailing Modi while he was speaking in the presence of the prime minister at a function.