Tewari 'aghast' at Modi's attempt to politicize I-Day address, urges him to withdraw statement

New Delhi, Aug. 14 (ANI): Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Wednesday lashed out at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi after the latter

publicly challenged Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on the popularity of their Independence Day speeches, and said he is 'aghast' that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader politicized the historic Red Fort speech delivered on August 15 every year.

Tewari asked Modi to withdraw his statement made earlier today.

"I was particularly aghast at a comment which the Chief Minister of Gujarat ostensibly made with regard to the Prime Minister's address on Independence Day. When the Prime Minister of India speaks from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he is not the leader of a political party speaking-he is the Prime Minister of 1.2 billion people of India. He articulates the hopes and aspirations of the people. That is an address which has been sacrosanct in the last 66 years," Tewari said.

Tewari alleged that the Gujarat Chief Minister's remark smacks of frustration and opportunism.

"The kind of off-the-cuff reaction which came from the Gujarat Chief Minister, I am not sure if it smacks of frustration, opportunism, cynicism, or it's plain downright obtuse. You can't, and I repeat you can't, talk about the sacrosanct of the Independence Day address in such a cavalier manner. It is not only the 1.2 billion people in India who listen to it, there are people all over the world who very carefully listen to what the Prime Minister of India has to say," Tewari said.

"I think it would possibly serve the Chief Minister of Gujarat well if he was to withdraw these remarks," Tewari added.

Modi has contended that his Independence Day speech in a far corner of Gujarat would draw the same amount of attention as that of Dr. Singh from the historic ramparts of Delhi's Red Fort.

"Tomorrow, on Independence day, focus will not only be on the address at the Lal Qila but also the one at Lalan College in Bhuj," Modi said in Gujarati.

According to reports, Modi will speak at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Bhuj's Lallan college before a capacity audience of 25,000 people. (ANI)

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