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Nov 12, 2013 at 12:29am IST

Modi moves from one historical controversy to the other

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is now embarrassing the party with historical and geographical facts in his speeches. Modi who has taken a head start over his political opponents with his aggressive campaigning is now seemed to be changing the course of the history. The latest embarrassment was on November 10 when Modi confused BJP's founding patriarch Shyama Prasad Mookherjee with a Gujarati freedom fighter in a keynote speech delivered at a hospital inauguration at Kheda.

Modi a man who has positioned himself as a champion of development and a leader who had a vision for future, in the last few weeks the forward looking agenda has been replaced in his speeches with his interpretation of history. Modi's attempt has led to one controversy after the other.

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Modi had during Hunkar rally in Bihar said, "When we think of Gupta dynasty, we remember Chandragupta Maurya."

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was quick to hit back by saying, "Modi's knowledge of history is amazing. He called Chandragupta, the king of Maurya dynasty, the king of Gupta dynasty."

It did not stop here. He even said, "Taxila is in Bihar." But in reality, Taxila is nowhere near Bihar, it is in Pakistan.

But the situation now is reaching a crescendo of embarrasement after Modi referred to Shyama Prasad Mookherjee instead of Shyamaji Krishna Varma.

Modi said, "Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was a revolutionist. He died in 1930. His last wish was that his ashes should be brought to India after independence and till then it was in Geneva."

But the Jan Sangh founder died in 1953, not in London, but in Gujarat. Out of all bloopers made by Modi so far, this one will hurt him the most as it deals with the founder of Jan Sangh itself.

Modi apologised for his mistake saying, "I wanted to refer to Shyamaji Krishna Varma not Shyama Prasad MOOkherjee. I apologise for my mistake."

Congress took a dig at Modi with General Secretary Digvijaya Singh saying, "The BJP should have given him some lessons in history before making him the prime ministerial nominee."

BJP defended Modi with spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi saying, "Modi came to the stage and corrected himself on that very stage when he realised the slip of tongue."

So why is Modi, the vikas purush, trying to repackage himself as the 'itihaas purush'? Whether its comment on Nehru not attending funeral of Sardar Patel, which he backtracked later, or his understanding of Chinese economy, Narendra Modi is simply moving from one "historical controversy to the other".