Need to be secular and patriotic, Congress tells Modi

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 10, 2013 17:40 hrs

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The Congress Sunday took a dig at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over his "India First" definition of secularism and said there was need to be both patriotic and secular.

Asked about Modi's remarks to the Indian diaspora in North America Sunday that secularism for him was "India First", Congress spokesperson Raashid Alvi said that the Gujarat chief minister had referred to patriotism instead.

"He (Modi) needs to understand the definition of secularism properly. A person needs to be both patriotic and secular," Alvi told IANS.

Capt (retd) Praveen Davar, secretary of Congress ex-servicemen department, said Modi "forgets his definition of secularism while dealing with minorities".

"He forgot it in 2002 and does so now while dealing with minorities," he said.

Modi spoke to the Indian diaspora in North America Sunday and asked them to put "India First" wherever they may be and whatever they do.

"My definition of secularism is simple: 'India First'. Whatever you do, wherever you work, India should be the top priority for all its citizens," Modi said.

Alvi also took a dig at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani for his remarks to a magazine that he feels distressed that the BJP was not gaining in public perception despite the current mood of the people being against the ruling party.

"His statement is half-true and half-false. His remarks pertaining to BJP are correct but the not about the Congress. People have faith in Congress. It will return to power in 2014 elections," Alvi said.

More from Sify: