Cong has developed 'cold feet' on Rahul, says BJP

Opposition says grand old party fears Lok Sabha poll defeat

Cong has developed 'cold feet' on Rahul, says BJP

The Congress decision not to project Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial choice on Thursday invited criticism from BJP, which said the ruling party has developed “cold feet” as it fears a defeat in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP also attacked Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar for his remarks on Narendra Modi, saying that democracy would be strengthened if a former tea vendor succeeded in defeating dynastic politics.

Soon after the AICC session concluded in Delhi without announcing Rahul as its prime ministerial candidate, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said in his blog that Congress is “losing the will” to fight an adversity and the “nervousness is palpable” now.

“The diminishing returns of a dynasty controlling a party are now visible. In 25 years, a Gandhi has not been the prime minister of this country. India, indeed, is changing. The Gandhis can control a party but not the nation. It was nervousness in 2004 that kept the dynasty away. It is the prospect of defeat staring in the face, which is responsible for the reluctance to announce Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate in 2014,” he said.

He said this was never the intention as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had declared that the prime ministerial candidate would be announced at an appropriate time.

“Why puncture your only card in an adverse political environment. There is no fire in the belly left to fight adversity. You can duck a comparison with Narendra Modi particularly when opinion polls indicate a large difference in the personal ratings of the two. May be it is a belated realisation of reality on part of the Congress. If there is no prospect of forming a government, why announce Shri Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate,” he said.

Party leader Prakash Javadekar said the Congress did not declare Rahul as prime ministerial candidate because it was saving him for “future elections”. “Defeat is written on Congress’ face,” he said.

Reacting to Sonia’s remarks on BJP, Javadekar said the Congress was trying every trick, including invoking the threat to secularism and tying up with any force, to keep the main Opposition from coming to power.

“The party that burnt alive 10,000 Sikhs ... and which worked with the Muslim League that divided India is calling us communal and divisive,” Javadekar said adding, “Congress is the most communal party in India.”

On Aiyar, Javadekar said he was an “icon of cheap thinking” while Jaitley tweeted, “The strength of Indian democracy will be proved when a former tea vendor defeats a dynasty representative. Let this be the battle of 2014.” Aiyar said that Modi would never become prime minister in the 21st Century, but if he wanted to sell tea here, then Congress could find a place for him. 

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