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Cong shows aggression in Gujarat

Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi, DH News Service, Dec 7 2017, 23:31 IST

The party is now more on the front foot, never shying away from taking on issues

In a visible change of election strategy, the Congress is now more on the front foot, never shying away from taking on issues which it shied away from earlier.

The BJP's attempts to put the Congress in a tight spot, be it by raking up the religion of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi or Kapil Sibal's remarks in Supreme Court seeking deferment of hearing in Babri dispute, have been met with a spirited response.

As the BJP tried to make Rahul's religion an issue after his visit to the Somnath Temple, the Congress paid back in equal measure by declaring the vice-president as a "janeu-dhari Hindu" (holy thread-wearing Hindu).

"The BJP had made a point and we had to outscore them," a senior Congress leader said.

Quite unlike the past, the Congress has relied on a soft-Hindutva campaign accentuated by Rahul's well-publicised visits to numerous temples while on the campaign trail in Gujarat.

When Rahul visited Dwarkadhish temple, the Congress communications team released details of the ancestral link of the Nehru-Gandhi family to the shrine dedicated to Lord Krishna.

The party circulated diary entries kept by the priests at the Dwarkadhish temple on the visits made by Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv to the shrine.

Similarly, the Congress also chose to respond with aggression when the BJP tried to gain mileage from Sibal's plea seeking deferment of hearing of the Ayodhya case in the Supreme Court till after the Lok Sabha elections of 2019.

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala was quick to point out that Sibal had made the plea in the Supreme Court in his capacity as a lawyer for his clients and not as a politician.

"We are responding to such attempts by the BJP to derail the development narrative in Gujarat with gusto. Earlier, there used to be radio silence on such issues which allowed the BJP to reap benefits," a senior Congress leader said.

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