Rahul's leadership not acceptable within Cong: PM

Rahul's leadership not acceptable within Cong: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during BJP National Executive meeting, in New Delhi on Sunday. Twitter Photo via PTI

The BJP sought to touch the raw nerve of the Opposition unity by raising questions on the acceptance of Rahul Gandhi’s leadership and kept the focus of attack on the Nehru-Gandhi family without naming it as the party’s two-day national executive tried to project the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a contest of personalities.

The party brainstorming also made it clear that its focus on Hindutva will be a key plank and it plans to raise the issue of illegal immigration in a big way, which could pay dividends in states like West Bengal besides the Northeast.

Referring to the 48-years of rule by “one family” in the country, the prime minister said that even some Opposition parties, which under compulsion are willing to align with the Congress think that “Congress leadership is not capable of giving leadership” to any such grouping.

There is no clarity about the leadership of the grand alliance and it is still to be seen what emerges, which parties really join the Congress.

"The situation of not accepting the leader of Congress is even within Congress," Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad quoted the prime minister as having said at the meeting.

Modi’s’ remarks came in the backdrop of no clarity as yet as to who is the Opposition's face for the next general elections.

The issue of who will provide leadership to any emerging Opposition alliance is far from being settled and leaders like Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee and some others have clearly indicated that the issue is still wide open.

In his speech, the prime minister repeatedly referred to the rule of "that family".

The BJP has tried to send a message to the electorates that the alternative being provided by the Opposition is fraught with uncertainties, while the BJP has a ‘tested” leader in Modi to lead the next government as well.

In the political resolution, the party referred to reports of various international agencies to project an all-is-well image for the government on the economy front and claimed that the Opposition parties are “terribly shaken” by the “immense goodwill and popularity” of the Modi government and that they “neither have a leader, who can match PM Modi in stature nor they have a programme”.

Three months after the BJP suddenly withdrew support to the Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir, the resolution of the party on Sunday hailed it saying “The National Executive is proud that our leadership has held national interest above party interest and boldly walked out of the government in that state in order to facilitate more concrete action for peace and development there.”

It also highlighted that “stern steps “taken by the government in last three years has led to the “elimination of more than six hundred terrorists” there.

The meet passed a special resolution on National Register of Citizens, first of its kind to be passed at any national executive, in which party chief Amit Shah castigated Opposition parties criticizing the government’s move on NRC and lauded the party-ruled Assam government over its implementation.

Asserting that Modi-led government will not allow India to be used as a safe haven for infiltrator, Shah vowed “Each and every infiltrator will be identified and deported from India after taking away their citizenship.   The government has begun the process of identifying Rohingya infiltrators in various cities of the country and adequate action will be taken to deport them back.”

Similarly on the controversial Citizenship Bill, he said that the BJP understands the problems of minority “Hindu, Budhists, Sikhs and Christians of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan”, who are leaving  these countries due to persecution and coming to India for shelter to protect the honour of their religion and their women and save their lives.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox