New Delhi: A day after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi virtually admitted to his prime ministerial ambitions saying "I have repaid the debt of Gujarat and now people want me to repay India's debt", the Congress hit out at him saying it hoped Modi doesn't want a repeat of 2002 Gujarat riots in other parts of the country. "I am worried about the comments of the CM of Gujarat. I hope he doesn't want to do the same here, what he did in Gujarat in 2002," said Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.
The Janata Dal (United), which is a part of the BJP-led NDA, also mocked Modi's statement saying it doesn't matter which leader says what, the ultimate power lies with the people of the country. "I don't understand what Narendra Modi meant by saying that he wants to serve the country. When someone works for his state, he is also working for the nation. Everyone has aspirations to reach Delhi. We will have to see who manages to take that seat in 2014," said party leader Shivanand Tiwari.
Sharp reactions also came from the Samajwadi Party (SP) which said there was more publicity and less work done in Gujarat. "There is no bigger leader than Atalji. Narendra Modi is no bigger leader than him. There is more publicity and less work done in Gujarat. I don't think that a single person can save the country. It's good to dream but public will decide who they want to give the country's leadership to," SP leader Naresh Agarwal said.
But former Rajasthan chief minister and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje was all praise for her neighbouring state's Chief Minister. "I believe that he has done a good work in this country. The best thing about the BJP is that it gives you the opportunity wherever you may be or on what level you may be, if you do a good job, you have the opportunity to touch the sky," she said.
Speaking at a book release function in Gujarat on Thursday, Modi had indicated that he was ready for a major role in the national politics. "Every child and citizen owes a debt to Mother India...everybody has to repay a debt...I hope Mother India gives her blessings and nobody goes away without paying this debt," he had said.
The induction of Modi in the BJP Parliamentary Board - the top decision-making body in the party - is speculated by many as a prelude to his being formally nominated as the party's prime ministerial candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections of the country.