Atal Bihari Vajpayee fought against Congress, yet we were first to visit him: Rahul Gandhihttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/rahul-gandhi-atal-bihari-vajpayee-mumbai-congress-meet-lk-advani-narendra-modi-5214492/

Atal Bihari Vajpayee fought against Congress, yet we were first to visit him: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress president also exuded confidence that Congress will trounce the saffron party in the forthcoming assembly elections and insisted that his party with the support of the other opposition parties will triumph the 2019 general elections.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee fought against Congress, yet we were first to visit him: Rahul Gandhi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressing party workers rally at Goregaon on Tuesday. (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar)

Emphasising that the Congress has the culture to respect even the rival leaders, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that he was the first to visit ailing Atal Bihari Vajpayee at AIIMS after the former prime minister was admitted for kidney infection. “Congress party fought against Vajpayee’s govt, but when he was sick it was we who first visited him. This is the ideology of Congress party, we respect our opponents,” said the Congress president at an event in Mumbai.

It was after Gandhi’s visit on Monday evening that seniors BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah made a beeline for AIIMS.

The Congress chief also took a potshot at Narendra Modi for ignoring its senior leaders. Gandhi stated that the prime minister does not respect his mentor LK Advani and claimed that the grand old party has given the BJP stalwart more respect than PM Modi himself.

“LK Advani has been the guru of PM Modi, but I have seen in events that PM Modi does not even respect his guru. Today I feel very sad for Advani ji. The Congress party has given him more respect than Modi Ji,” Gandhi said while addressing grassroots workers of the party in Mumbai.

93-year-old Vajpayee, who was Prime Minister briefly in 1996 and then from 1998 to 2004, had retreated from active politics over the last decade due to deteriorating health. In a statement, AIIMS said Vajpayee was admitted for investigation and evaluation and that “he has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection”.

He also exuded confidence that Congress will trounce the saffron party in the forthcoming assembly elections and insisted that his party with the support of the other opposition parties will triumph the 2019 general elections.

“They (BJP) have recently lost in Karnataka and have barely saved themselves in Gujarat, they will be wiped out in Rajasthan, MP & Chhatisgarh & Congress & other opposition parties will defeat them in the General Elections of 2019,” he said.

Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, the BJP accused the Congress chief of practising the “lowest form of politics” and said it was bizarre to see the president of the country’s oldest party stoop to such a low. BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni claimed that it was clear that the Congress president has no link with Indian values as he keeps violating political and social norms.

Baluni referred to Congress leaders’ criticism of former president Pranab Mukherjee for attending an RSS event, and said the country had seen how the party treated one of its veterans. He also claimed that Congress leaders had torn to pieces clothes of its then president Sitaram Kesari and thrown him out of his office.

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“The Congress president is practising the lowest form of politics. He is violating our social and political norms. He does not even seem to know the kind of politics he is doing. The country is watching how the president of the oldest political party is behaving,” Baluni said.