BHOPAL: While refusing to make comparison between his former Prime Minister father Late Lal Bahadur Shastri and present PM Narendra Modi, senior Congress leader Anil Shastri said on Tuesday, “my father always wore khadi dhoti and kurta, while the present PM loves wearing Rs 10 lakh suit.”
Interacting with journalists in Bhopal, the former union minister when asked by scribes as to who was a better PM, his illustrious father or the present PM, said “I don’t want to make any comparisons between the two leaders, because lauding Shastriji would always make people feel that I’m heaping praise on his exalted persona as he was my father.”
He, however, recounted an incident dating back to the early 1960s. “When my father became the PM, we requested him to buy a car, after which he bought a car by taking Rs 5000 loan from the Punjab National Bank. However, a few months later he died, leaving the loan unpaid.”
“The loan taken by my father as the PM, however, didn’t remain unpaid. My mother Lalita Shastri repaid the loan out of the pension she received. But in the present NDA era, a businessman named Nirav Modi has managed to escape the country without repaying the Rs 11,000 crore loan taken from the same PNB,” said Shastri.
He recounted another incident, “When my father became the PM, I was just 15 years old. When he came back to the PM residence after taking oath, I requested him to have a carpet in his bed room. But he responded to me in his signature manner saying that I’m the PM of a country, where countless people don’t have their own roof to live. You should be happy that your father and family at least have a spacious house to live in, if I allow a carpet in my bedroom, I won’t be able to sleep,” said Anil Shastri.
He further said “my father always wore khadi dhoti and kurta even when he was in abroad, but the present PM loves wearing Rs 10 lakh suit. My father didn’t even have a woolen coat of his own to wear when he went to Kashmir. He instead wore a woolen coat gifted to him by Jawaharlal Nehru,” said Shastri.
The 69-year-old Anil Shastri, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Varanasi (PM Modi’s present parliamentary constituency) in 1989 as a Janta Dal candidate, when asked by the New Indian Express about the Ganga Pathway-Kashi Vishwanath project in Varanasi reportedly leading to demolition of old buildings, said entire Congress leadership is alive to the development. “Our local leaders in Varanasi have joined the residents of Varanasi in protests against it. I’ll surely talk to our national leadership to raise the matter in monsoon session of the parliament,” assured Shastri.