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National Herald case: Congress changes strategy, takes fight to BJP

Now, whether the situation is similar and a parallel can be drawn, time will tell, but for now the Congress is in a fight back mode.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
December 8, 2015 5:06:20 pm
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A week is a long time in politics and political stances, strategies and tactics can change in a day. Less than 24 hours ago, the Congress was on the back foot and in a mood to challenge The National Herald case legally. This morning, the party was raring to convert it into a “political battle” and take on the BJP and the government.

Less than 24 hours ago, the option on the table was to approach the Supreme Court to seek an exemption for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi from appearing in the trial court. Today, Congress’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the court that they are “eager, willing, ready and anxious” to appear before the judge.

What has changed in 24 hours? Plenty. The Congress’s initial reaction, crafted by its legal team, was not borne out of political instinct. It was more of the legal variety – going for appeal, et al. The political strategists and spin masters saw in the case a political opportunity to cash in. They immediately likened it to the case foisted on Indira Gandhi after the Emergency.

Now, whether the situation is similar and a parallel can be drawn, time will tell, but for now the Congress is in a fight back mode. It has concluded that the Gandhis have been attacked. The arms of the Congress – Youth Congress, NSUI and the women’s wing – took to the streets. All political niceties in the context of Parliament in session will fall by the wayside. The most likely casualty, of course, is Parliament and legislation including the GST.

Although the Congress sought to be politically correct saying the GST and the present standoff are not linked, the political atmospherics have been spoiled and it is to be seen whether any engagement between the two sides is possible in an atmosphere of confrontation and war of words. Congress leaders argue that Subramanian Swamy is just the face and the real strings are being pulled from 7, RCR.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited the Congress for a political fight and we will not shy away. The Congress will take the BJP head on,” said Randeep Surjewala Congress communication department head, making it clear that the party was ready for a political battle.

For her part, Sonia Gandhi told top party leaders that she was ready for a fight and invoked her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi who would not be cowed down. The political message was loud and clear.

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