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Modi's remarks reflect unhealthy mindset, says Congress

New Delhi, Feb 3
Congress Tuesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over some of his remarks during US President Barack Obama's visit as also in his political rallies, saying that it reflected an "unhealthy mindset"

Congress leader Anand Sharma told the media that Modi's conversation with Obama during their "chai pe charcha" on the lawns of Hyderabad House last month was a "national embarrassment".

Noting people were curious to know about conversation Modi had with Obama during their one-to-one interaction over tea, he said Obama divulged some of it during his speech at the ceremonial banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Sharma said Modi told Obama that he walked barefoot and sold tea to battle poverty in his childhood. The prime minister also told the US president that he slept for only three hours and worked for 20 hours a day and in his childhood he fought a crocodile and defeated it.

"He (Modi) is not increasing respect of the country. He is not edifying the office. This kind of conversation with heads of state is national embarrassment to my mind," said the former union minister.

He also referred to Modi calling Obama by his first name.

Sharma said Modi had claimed that India had got recognition after his government assumed office. "...we feel it is an unhealthy mindset which is a concern for the nation," he said, adding the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was seeking to take credit for the India-US nuclear deal but had opposed it earlier.

"Instead of taking credit (for operationalising the deal), the prime minister should become serious," he said.

He said the country has to think about the way of working of prime minister as he has centralised authority.

Referring to curtailing tenure of former DRDO chief Avinash Chander and sacking of Sujatha Singh as foreign secretary, he said "no body should have been treated in this manner".

"The government needs to answer why he is obsessed with repeatedly underscoring he is the only authority and therefore has the right to humiliate senior civil servants," Sharma said.

The Congress leader also took exception to Prime Minister 's retort to opposition parties in which he sought to link fall in global crude prices to his luck.

"To call such mentality sick and unhealthy will be appropriate," Sharma said.