News Brief

Delhi 2020: With Kejriwal Going For Soft-Hindutva, Rahul Gandhi Was Forced To Look For Something To Say And He Chose The Worst

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's focussed attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi could be good news to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The campaign of the Congress has been nearly damp, and Gandhi's return to the campaign scene with harsh words for Modi, the harshest so far, has given the BJP a chance to attack someone other than Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The imagery of youth "beating Prime Minister Narendra Modi with sticks in six months" is the latest gem from the Congress leader. He was attacking Modi on the issue of unemployment.

Delhi Assembly election has seen Gandhi and Kejriwal swapping roles. In Delhi, it is Kejriwal playing the 'more Hindu than thou' role to impress the voter to trump BJP. He has faced attacks from the saffron party for his support to the ongoing Shaheen Bagh protests.

Kejriwal's game plan is to steal the glamour and image the BJP and Prime Minister Modi enjoy for their support to Hindu causes, through Hindutva politics and the constant addressing of Hindu-related concerns.

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With that territory slipping away, Gandhi seems to have been left with few options. These are: attacking BJP, attacking Modi with harsher words and try to show a balance by posing a niggle here and a nibble there into Kejriwal's space.

It cannot be yet said whether this would benefit the BJP, which would hope that Gandhi, with his attack on Modi scoops away anti-Modi sentiment and support going to AAP.

News18 website reported Gandhi as saying: “the PM won’t be able to come out of his home. The youth will beat him up with sticks and make him understand that his country can’t progress without providing jobs to youth.”

Attacking Narendra Modi, Gandhi further added that he wants to divide India.

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The same report quotes him as saying: "the youth are roaming on the streets, angry with unemployment. And their anger is being misused by Modi and Kejriwal… Their politics is of hatred and if they provide employment to you, then their politics will end. You people need to understand that they (Modi and Kejriwal) only want to divide India."

Gandhi's campaign is a bit of everything. Interestingly, this report on India Today website shows that in meetings held by the Gandhi siblings in Muslim-dominated Old Delhi area, they skipped the obvious. It says, "the Congress leader neither mentioned CAA nor NRC at the Muslim-dominated seats of Ballimaran and Matia Mahal."

One area where Rahul Gandhi is showing consistency is in cornering Modi in a ridiculing tone and tenor.

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This report in the Times of India looks at reactions from within the Congress. It says:

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sent shock waves within the Congress as he personally targeted PM Modi ahead of Delhi Assembly elections once again handing a “chowkidar chor hai” moment.

The same report quotes “a senior Congress leader as saying:

The anti-CAA protests are at a critical juncture. They were primarily initiated as an attempt to wean away Muslims who had been shifting to Modi between 2014 and 2019 because of a number of steps he had taken to improve their lot from Haj quota to triple talaq law. CAA is an important tool for us to win back Muslims across India. There should be no attack on the PM.

Note the umbrella of mentions. There is a mention to anti-CAA protests, to wean away Muslim from BJP, to winning back Muslims and to not attack the Prime Minister. Gandhi has been there done that on his own. It is to be seen whether he helps BJP this time or AAP.

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