Cong treads a cautious line on communal issues

Cong treads a cautious line on communal issues
Congress has been treading a cautious line on issues that can help BJP push the communal card at a time when it was making some headway in cornering the government on the slow down in the economy.

Congress leaders have refrained from joining the issue with the BJP on the recent Supreme Court order to ban the sale of crackers in the national capital. The main opposition's response to the Taj Mahal controversy stoked by Uttar Pradesh BJP legislator Sangeet Som too was muted.

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi responded vociferously to Som's questioning of the Taj's place in India's heritage, the Congress merely asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make his stand clear on the “baseless remarks”.

Congress leaders believe that issues such as the Taj Mahal controversy and attempts to fan a debate on the SC-directed ban on the sale of crackers were part of the BJP agenda to stoke a communal debate ahead of the Gujarat elections.

“We may respond to the SC order, but soon the narrative will go to why Hindu festivals are targeted. We do not want to get into these issues,” a senior Congress leader said.

He said the Congress had succeeded in highlighting the slowdown in the economy, the “faulty” implementation of the Goods and Services Tax and the “ill-effects” of demonetisation.

Similarly, the Congress believed the attempt to “manufacture” a controversy surrounding Robert Vadra was aimed at diverting the focus from BJP President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah's businesses.

Congress leaders argued that the BJP and the Modi government were unable to counter the questions they had flagged on increasing unemployment, the decline in growth, and was desperate to turn the debate communal.

“Communalism benefits them, it is their strong point, why should we help the BJP further their agenda,” the Congress leader asked.

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