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Jul 16, 2013 at 04:19pm IST

BJP MP Yashwant Sinha warns his party over Modi's comments

New Delhi: As the war of words between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress intensifies, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha has warned that Modi's controversial statements will shift focus from corruption. He said that the more Modi speaks the attention gets diverted from Congress's misgovernance.

"The Modi baiters have a clear game plan. The more he speaks. The more controversy he will create. The attention will shift from misgovernance and corruption to what happened more than 11 years ago in Gujarat. It will be a grave mistake to allow Congress change the agenda and force debate on its own terms," Sinha said.

ALSO SEE Cong hits back at Modi, asks him what his definition of secularism is

This came after Congress leaders hit back at Modi for his secularism remarks. Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh has hit out at Modi saying, "I want to know what is the definition of secularism according to Modiji. One religion, one culture, one nation is the definition of secularism according to the RSS and Advaniji. Modiji should clarify what is his definition of secularism."

Minister of State for Human Resources Shashi Tharoor also tweeted, "Modi says we 'hide behind the burqa of secularism". Preferable, surely, to the khaki shorts of intolerance & hatred that he now tries to hide?"

ALSO SEE Modi tears into Congress, says it hides behind the veil of secularism

Modi had on Sunday said the government hides behind the veil of secularism whenever India faces any problem. "Congress always wears the burqa of secularism whenever they face problem. In the name of secularism, Congress government can't play with poor, teenagers and daughters of the country," Modi had said.

Digvijaya also accused Modi of politicising the Food Security ordinance decision. "Here we are talking of providing food to poor and needy, he mustn't politicise this, Digvijaya said.

Taking a dig at UPA government's ambitious food security programme, Modi had on Sunday said India's priority is skill development and merely bringing in the Bill would not feed the needy. The government's decision to rush through an ordinance to put into effect its ambitious food security scheme was also slammed by Modi. "Congress decided to bring in an ordinance because it does not trust its allies anymore. It's all a fight for credit and deprives their partners of the credit" he quipped.

"Instead of distributing the grains to the poor, the government let it rot and later gave the rotting grains to liquor manufacturers despite SC orders," Modi added.

The Congress also once again attacked Modi for his 'puppy' remark. "IF KUTTE KA BACCHA - PUPPY comes under your car u hv 2 options cuddle & treat it or again crush it What would u call a man who does the latter (sic)," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari tweeted.

Modi had sparked a controversy after, in an interview to Reuters, he claimed that he was innocent in the Gujarat riots and said "I would feel guilty only if I did something wrong". "While driving if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course it is...I'm a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad," he added.