WikiLeaks denies endorsing Modi as ‘incorruptible’

March 19, 2014 - 10:54:47 am

A member of a non-governmental organistation displays a badge saying ‘Me and My Vote not for Sale’ to create awareness among people for the general elections, in Bangalore, yesterday.

New Delhi: In an embarrassment to the BJP, whistleblower website WikiLeaks has denied it endorsed the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as “incorruptible”, and posted a cable quoting Congress workers as praising him.

WikiLeaks said in a tweet that its founder Julian Assange “has never spoken about Modi in any manner whatsoever. US docs we published say both good and bad things about Modi”.

“No WikiLeaks document says Modi is ‘incorruptible’, rather he is popular because ‘viewed’ as ‘incorruptible’,” the website said.

It posted a November 27, 2006 cable by US Consul General in Mumbai Michael S Owen quoting Rajkot Congress party leader Manoharsinh Jadeja as saying that Modi was completely incorruptible. The cable quoted Jadeja as saying “Modi’s accomplishments are undeniable”, and that he is “viewed as someone who is completely incorruptible and can deliver the goods”.

In another US cable, posted online by WikiLeaks, the consul general quotes former Congress party MP and former minister Digvijay Sinhji of the erstwhile princely state of Wankaner in Saurashtra as saying that Modi “lacks the polish and refinement” to become a national leader.

However, Sinhji says a reason “why Modi could face challenges in becoming a national leader: Modi’s reputation for being completely incorruptible is accurate, and if he were to become a national leader he would crack down on corruption throughout the BJP.”

In his comment at the end of the cable, Owen said: “We believe Sinhji’s comments on Modi are indeed accurate: Ironically the man most hold accountable for the communal violence of 2002 may now be the most ardent defender of communal harmony, at least on the surface.”

After the cable was posted online by WikiLeaks, Modi in 2011 expressed happiness about the revelations. On his website, Modi said March 22, 2011: “WikiLeaks cables are accurate. I am glad to learn that America admits Modi is incorruptible. He informed media that the cable presents an honest account of his talk on human rights issue with the American official.”

The whistleblower website was forced to issue a clarification after Modi fans posted online a photo of Assange with the blurb “America fears Modi because they know that he is incorruptible” with the whistleblower’s sign. The post was re-tweeted by one of BJP’s communication cell officials of Maharashtra on January 25 this year.

Reacting to the controversy, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “The nation does not need a certificate from Julian Assange or WikiLeaks about Modi, and neither does Modi to win the elections. What the people want is just good governance.” IANS

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