PM Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, BJP in damage control mode

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 28 2014, 08:36am hrs
As they prepare to mark 100 days in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP, and Union home minister Rajnath Singh went into damage-control mode on Wednesday after reports in a section of the media claimed that Rajnath Singhs son was pulled up by Modi for an alleged misconduct.

As opposition parties revelled in the discomfort of the ruling party, BJP president Amit Shah joined the PM and Singh in condemning the reports, saying the propaganda against ministers was baseless and misleading.

Shortly after newspapers carried reports of Prime Ministers unhappiness over some alleged misdemeanour of Singhs son Pankaj and that he was warned about it, Rajnath Singh sought to scotch the rumours, saying he would quit politics if even prima facie it is proved that any of his family member had been involved in any misconduct. An emotional Singh made a brief statement to the media, saying rumours about alleged wrongdoings by his family members have been floating around for the last fortnight. In the past 15-20 days, there have been continuous rumours about me and my family. I (had) thought the rumours had no basis and these will end in some days, he said. But I am seeing that these are gaining momentum. I want to assure the nation that the day allegations, even prima facie or even small, are proven against me or my family, I will quit politics and public life and sit at home," he said in a hurriedly called interaction with journalists outside his office in North Block.

The home minister said he spoke to Modi and Shah about it and both of them expressed surprise and termed the rumours as completely baseless.

Meanwhile, the PMO also issued a statement, rubbishing the reports and dubbing them as plain lies, motivated and malicious attempt to tarnish the image of the government. This is in reference to reports over the past several weeks, mentioning the Prime Minister, and referring to the conduct of some Union ministers, and alleged misconduct of the home ministers son, the PMO statement said. The reports are plain lies, motivated and constitute a malicious attempt at character assassination and tarnishing the image of the government, it said. Those indulging in such rumour mongering are damaging the interest of the nation. These reports are strongly denied, the PMO said.

The denials came in the wake of a media report that Rajnath Singh was unhappy over rumours being spread by a ministerial colleague and party rival about his son being pulled up by the Prime Minister over some alleged misconduct. Asked who could be floating the rumours, Singh said it was something for the journalists to find out. On the possibility of a political rival spreading these rumours, he parried a direct reply, saying, I have nothing to say on this. In a separate statement, Shah said the integrity of all ministers is beyond doubt as he condemned allegations against the home ministers son. The BJP chief accused a section of the media of targeting ministers of teh NDA government for some time by propagating unfounded and baseless reports and asked them to desist from indulging in such propaganda and base reports on facts.