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Congress attacks Modi over heckling of opposition CMs
Thursday August 21, 2014 10:53 PM, IANS

With Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren being heckled at a function attended by Narendra Modi, the Congress Thursday stepped up its attack on the prime minister with a party leader advising opposition chief ministers to avoid public functions attended by the premier.

The Bharatiya Janata Party described the sloganeering as a reflection of unpopularity of incumbent governments.

Soren Thursday complained of heckling after he delivered his speech in Modi's presence, and said a new tradition has started in federal polity.

"The prime minister should take note of it," Soren said.

Soren faced some awkward moments as BJP activists raised slogans hailing Modi while he was speaking.

Modi inaugurated and laid foundation stones of a series of development projects in Jharkhand.

Soren said that heckling of opponents at official functions in the presence of the prime minister amounted to 'rape' of centre-state relations.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Wednesday said he will not attend the foundation stone-laying of the Nagpur metro rail project by Modi.

Chavan said there was a possibility of ruckus by BJP workers as it happened in Haryana at a function Tuesday at Kaithal in which Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda shared the dais with Modi.

Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said heckling of opposition chief ministers started in Jammu and Kashmir where Omar Abdullah faced a similar situation in the presence of Modi.

"It was repeated in Solapur in Maharashtra. Then, Bhupinder Singh Hooda had to face (booing). Today it was Hemant Soren," Ahmed told IANS.

He said "any self-respecting chief minister will avoid attending public functions (with Modi)", except extending protocol.

"It (the heckling) was well-planned and orchestrated by Modi and his party. The prime minister talked of working as a team. Being captain of the team, he is trying to back-stab. The prime minster, whose main responsibility is to strengthen the spirit of the constitution, is himself trying to weaken it. This is very unfortunate," Ahmed told IANS.

Incidentally, the cases of heckling have been reported from all the four states going to assembly polls later this year.

Congress leader Manish Tewari said it was a case of gross impropriety "if government functions are used for orchestrated politics".

"No chief minister, in his right mind, would have possibly gone this route if evidence of orchestration was not in front of us," Tewari told CNN-IBN news channel.

He said it does not require rocket science to know that crowds were planted and people motivated to create disruptions.

"These are tactics which are employed but to be employed by the prime minister, I think, is a little low. Therefore, a self-respecting person backs off and says 'I give you the time'," he said.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the chief ministers faced sloganeering as they were "non-performing".

"They did not perform in their states. That's why their own public, which elevated them as chief minister, is today really annoyed with them. That's why they are showing the door to the chief ministers," Patra said.

Referring to an incident during a function in Kaithal Tuesday in which Hooda was jeered, Patra said it would be absurd to say that a sizeable section of the state's population had become BJP workers.

Upset at the jeering, Hooda said he will not attend any function of the prime minister or union ministers if the Haryana BJP leadership did not change its attitude.

In the presence of Modi, Hooda was continuously booed throughout his brief speech at a public function.

BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said it was wrong for the Congress to say that the prime minister was responsible for any adverse reaction in a gathering attended by lakhs of people.

"The Congress should accept that somewhere it is a reflection of the anger against the state government. We feel this should not happen but if does, Congress should take stock," Rudy said.

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