Amid chants of 'Bam Bhole' Rahul targets Modi on Rafale

Amid chants of 'Bam Bhole' Rahul targets Modi on Rafale

Congress president Rahul Gandhi interacts with a kanwariyas group during a two-day visit to his Parliamentary constituency of Amethi, on Monday. PTI

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday once again launched a scathing attack on prime minister Narendra Modi saying that the latter did not have the “courage” to “look in his eyes” as he was lying on the Rafale deal.

Rahul, who was garlanded by the ‘kanwariyas’ upon his arrival on a two-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency of Amethi, said, “Modiji calls himself a chowkidar (watchman)....but this chowkidar got the French government to favour Anil Ambani.

“Modiji cannot look in my eyes as he is lying on the Rafale deal....he has betrayed our brave forces.”

The Congress president began his two-day visit to Amethi by paying obeisance before a portrait of Lord Shiva. The Congress party had put up hoardings and posters hailing Rahul as a ‘Shiv Bhakt’ (devotee of Shiva) and also highlighted his recent visit to Kailash Mansarovar.

Rahul mingled freely with ‘kanwariyas’ (Hindu devotees, who fetch sacred Ganga waters in earthen pitchers to offer at Shiva temples) and accepted flowers from them. Saffron clad ‘kanwariyas’ gathered at different places en route Rahul's cavalcade and chanted ‘bam-bam Bhole'.

“Rahul is a true Shiv bhakt...his devotion is not for political gains,” said a senior Congress leader in Amethi.

Political observers, however, say that Rahul’s projection as a ‘Shiv bhakt’ was meant to counter the BJP surge, especially in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency and shun his party’s alleged ‘pro-Muslim’ image.

“Rahul’s policy of Soft Hindutva is aimed at keeping the BJP at arm's length on his home turf of Amethi,” said political analyst JP Shukla while speaking to DH here.

Union minister Smriti Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested against Rahul in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Amethi, has been a frequent visitor to the constituency. She has launched several schemes in Amethi and the saffron party has also indicated that she may contest from there again in 2019.

Although Rahul had managed to win from Amethi in 2014, his margin of victory had come down drastically.

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