Five days before polling in Amethi, two 16-page booklets, titled Rahul ki Ravanlila and Sonia ki barbarta evam saazish have surfaced across the constituency where Rahul Gandhi is seeking re-election.
The booklets, published by “Sanskriti Rakshak Sangh”, claim to reveal the “real identity of the Gandhi family”, and contain pictures of Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka in western attire, juxtaposed with those of “the way they dress in Rae Bareli and Amethi”.
The pictures of Sonia are of a time when she was much younger. The booklets also talk of the “Italian names of Rahul and Sonia”.
Priyanka Vadra, who was campaigning for Rahul in the Musafirkhana area of Amethi on Friday, said, “Prachaar ka sthar bahut gir chuka hai. Beech raat mein gandi-gandi pustakein phenk ke bhaag jaa rahein hain. Itna jhooth… Itna jhooth (The level of campaigning has fallen really low. They are dumping dirty books secretly in the middle of the night. Such lies, such lies…)”.
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Priyanka challenged the Congress’s opponents to come out in the open with their attacks. “This is an election. Say what you have to directly and openly, and if you cannot do that, you are cowards… You cannot even distribute books openly; you are dumping them secretly,” she said.
“Jo kehna hai seedhe kahiye. Khul ke bolo. Agar khulke nahin bol sakte toh tum mein hi kuchh kami hogi.” She told the crowd at Musafirkhana that the politics of Rahul was different from that of his opponents.
“Yeh chaley jayenge… hum aise nahin hain. Bachpan se aate rahein hain, aur budhapey tak aatey rahenge (They will leave, but we won’t. We have been coming to you since we were children, and we will continue to come to you even when we are old.).” Speaking about “lies” and “truth”, the booklet on Rahul begins: “Kaun hai Rahul Gandhi? (Who is Rahul Gandhi?)”
It says, “Rahul Gandhi is a false name, the real name is Raul Vinci.” Rahul, it alleges without giving any evidence, had “illicit relations”, and was “caught in America with an Italian passport”. Rahul has an “anti-Hindutva mindset”, the pamphlet says, alongside alleged extracts from reports in newspapers, magazines and online journals. The booklet also targets Priyanka and her husband Robert Vadra.
On Friday, as the controversy raged, Amit Shah, the close aide of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, arrived in Amethi. He held meetings with party workers and local leaders, who repeatedly asked him whether Modi would visit Amethi. Rahul is expected to arrive in Amethi for the final leg of the campaign, and stay until Sunday evening.