New Delhi, May 6 UNI | 3 months ago

Charging BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi with destroying media freedom in Gujarat, the Congress today said the conduct of the Gujarat regime during Modi's tenure epitomizes levels of intolerance not witnessed in any other state in the history of India.

Talking to reporters here, senior Congress leader and Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal, taking a swipe at Mr Modi over his greetings to journalists on World Press Freedom Day on March 3, said, 'these words sound hollow when you look at the track record of Narendra Modi in Gujarat. Instead of seeing them as friends, he targeted them if they wrote against him.

Given an opportunity, he violated the freedom of press both in letter and spirit.' Mr Sibal said and added there were rampant instances of sedition cases against mediapersons in Gujarat.

In this context, he pointed out that in 2007, the Ahmedabad district collector prohibited airing of programmes linked to Tehelka sting operation that exposed involvement of top BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders in communal violence of 2002.

He alleged that Mr Modi called for a ban on Star News, which was highlighting police and state complicity in the course of erupting communal violence in Gujarat.

"His (Modi) tweets are merely for public consumption. The art of fooling people has been perfected by him. Hard facts tell a different story," Mr Sibal said.

Mr Sibal also attacked Mr Modi over his claims that he would rid Parliament of criminals. "He talks of removing criminals from politics. However, he has himself 'embraced' criminals in his state. Amit Shah is

accused of triple murder in Sohrabuddin fake encounter. His minister Babubhai Bukharia, convicted for three years under the Prevention of Corruption Act, continues to be in his Cabinet and another minister Purushottam Solanki remains in the state ministry while he is being prosecuted," Mr Sibal said.

Accusing Mr Modi of destroying everything that he talks about protecting, he said, "Modi does exactly the opposite of whatever he says. He talks of freedom of press but attacks the media. Modi says Parliament will have to be freed from criminals. Yet he embraces criminals. The biggest criminal is Amit Shah, who is BJP's campaign in-charge for Uttar Pradesh."

(Posted on 07-05-2014)