Patna: Attacking Sonia Gandhi on the issue of Bhopal gas tragedy case, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked her to break her silence to explain who was the ‘maut ka saudagar’ (merchant of death) for its victims.
The statement of Modi, who borrowed the ‘merchant of death’ barb used by Gandhi during the campaign for 2007 Gujarat Assembly polls to attack the BJP leader for the 2002 riots in the state, drew a sharp reaction from the Congress which accused the Chief Minister of practicing ‘disruptive, divisive and a low level of politics.’
“Madam Sonia Gandhi, I want to ask you a question. The country wants you to break the silence and tell who was ‘maut ka saudagar’ of deaths in Bhopal,” Modi said while addressing BJP’s Swabhiman rally marking the launch of the party’s poll campaign in Bihar.
He said that all government advertisements had Gandhi’s photo and therefore she should break her silence.
The Congress criticised Modi for dragging the Congress chief into the case when she was not in politicis at the time of the tragedy.
“Narendra Modi has always practiced disruptive, divisive and a low level of politics and we reject his suggestions with contempt,” Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said.
“This is the brand of intellectually, morally and politically bankrupt politics which is being practiced by Narendra Modi. There is absolutely no moral right on Modi’s part for dragging in Soniaji after 26 years of the Bhopal tragedy, when she was not in politics at the time he was talking about,” she said, adding the BJP itself had a lot of explaining to do on the issue.
Natarjan said the BJP itsef had to do a lot of explaining including why its government accepted the legal opinion given by an American law firm, which said that extraditing Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson (to try in the Bhopal tragedy case) should not be done.
Modi, whose speech saw the most enthusiastic response from the crowd which had gathered in sweltering heat, lamented that such a major industrial disaster had occurred and still ‘buck was being passed’ in the matter.