Narendra Modi is going to be an issue in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and Congress has to face the challenge upfront, Union Minister Manish Tewari told a gathering of his party's media strategists here on Tuesday.
Party sources said Tewari, who is Information and Broadcasting Minister, is understood to have said this in response to questions including one as to how to tackle the challenge posed by Modi who is now BJP's face for the general elections.
Tewari said corporates are using television channels to project Modi.
His insistence was that Congressmen have to face the challenge upfront. Maintaining that the Core of Congress is its "secular credentials", Tewari asked spokespersons "not to be diffident" in articulating this.
"You do not have to vacate the seats when the chips are down," he said adding in difficult siutations, partymen will have to act as "Ranvijay" (one who wins the battle) and not "Ranchhod" (one who runs away from the battlefield).
Tewari cited the example of Bihar assembly elections in October, 2010 when the party had won only four assembly seats and he had appeared on over 20 news channels facing a barrage of questions.
To a question as to how to counter to BJP's attack on Congress over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the minister said the Congress leadership, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party President Sonia Gandhi, have repeatedly apologised for this "reprehensible" incident.
"But you have not heard a single apology from their side" over 2002 Gujarat riots, the minister is learnt to have said.
The two-day session saw Rahul Gandhi seeking uniformity in the partymen's responses and adherence to party line and warned of action otherwise. The meeting also saw senior ministers seeking to demolish the opposition criticism of the government on policies like FDI, food security and inflation.