NEW DELHI: The political drama over educational qualification of Narendra Modi took a fresh turn as top BJP leaders produced the copies of Prime Minister’s BA and MA degrees accusing the Aam Aadmi Party of lowering the political discourse.
BJP chief Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley demanded Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal should apologise for making wild allegations about Modi’s degrees. "The politics of adventurism is being treated as a substitute for governance," Jaitley said hitting at Delhi CM.
However, far from backing off, the BJP’s bitter rival AAP fired fresh salvos at the government saying there were several discrepancies in the documents produced by the BJP, and continued with their allegations of degrees being “fake.”
The subtext of the fight between the two parties stems from the fact that AAP wants to claim the principal opposition space, and BJP too has been keeping a tight leash on Delhi government as numbers of its legislations have not been cleared.
The BJP which till now ignored Kejriwal’s barbs and AAPs attempts to kick up a controversy, finally gave in by producing copies of Modi’s BA, MA degrees and mark sheets. Shah and Jaitley together held a press conference in a bid to put an end to the unseeming debate.
Shah and Jaitley alleged that Kejriwal has tried to turn a "lie" into truth by running a campaign to mislead the people of the country. Shah said he would write a letter to Kejriwal to reassure them about the degree. Accusing Kejriwal of lowering the political discourse, Shah said "Arvind Kejriwal has been spreading lies about the Prime Minister's credentials. He has committed the sin of defaming the country. When you do not have any proof, how can you spread allegations. He should apologise to the entire nation he should apologise.”
Ruling out defamation against Kejriwal, Shah attacked Congress' Manish Tewari and JD (U) leader K C Tyagi for supporting Kejriwal on the issue. "Congress should first clear the air on the AgustaWestland issue," he said.
Jaitley took the political fight a step further saying that here a ‘Union Territory’ was trying to disrupt the deferral cooperatism in the country. Finance Minister was sarcastic when he referred Delhi as a UT, instead of a state as Kejriwal is preparing a bill to get full statehood. Earlier Jaitley had filed a defamation cases against Kejriwal in a local court for making allegations of corruption in the Delhi District Cricket Association funds.
Jaitley rubbed it in saying it was ironical that AAP was making allegations when its own MLAs were prosecuted for possessing fake degrees.
The degrees released by BJP showed that Modi cleared BA first year in 1975 from school of correspondence, Delhi University, finally clearing BA III in 1978. The degrees released showed that he could not clear the final year once (in 1977), but cleared it next year. The MA in “entire political science” was completed in 1983.
Within hours of BJP presser, the AAP also held a press conference pointing out discrepancies in the documents released. AAP leader Ashutosh said Modi's full name did not match in the BA mark sheet and that of the MA degree and even claimed that there were discrepancies in the year of passing as well.
The BA mark sheet is dated 1978 while the degree is of the year 1979. His name in the BA mark sheet is Narendra Kumar Damodardas Modi while in Masters degree, it is Narendra Damoderdas Modi," said the AAP leader.
He said there were discrepancies in the PM's name even at the BA level with it being recorded as 'Narendra Kumar Damodardas Modi' in one of the mark sheets while it was spelt as 'Narendra Damoderdas Modi' in the degree certificate.
The issue was raked up by Kejriwal last week saying that the issue was whether the PM was "10th pass or 12th pass" but that he has furnished "fake" certificates and "cheated" the people of the country.
Jaitley said Modi rose from humble background to get education. Naresh Gaur, a former ABVP functionary in 1975 had hosted Modi. Modi at that time use to travel to Delhi to give exams and stay with Gaur. Gaur said he has known Modi all these years.