Take the fight to BJP, don’t fear its Balakot pitch: Rahul to partyhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/rahul-gandhi-congress-cwc-balakot-bjp-elections-5623486/

Take the fight to BJP, don’t fear its Balakot pitch: Rahul to party

Speaking at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Ahmedabad, Rahul Gandhi told the party top brass that the BJP was trying to divert attention from issues like the Rafale deal by citing national security.

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Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Telling leaders of his party not to feel despondent by the strident nationalism pitch of the BJP post the Balakot air strike, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday urged them to take the fight to the rival camp while targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Ahmedabad — perhaps its last before the Lok Sabha elections, and on Modi’s home turf — Gandhi told the party top brass that the BJP was trying to divert attention from issues like the Rafale deal by citing national security.

Attending her first CWC meeting, AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the party should be more forceful in highlighting the minimum income guarantee scheme for the poor, weak and marginalised sections of society announced by the Congress president. Saying it could be a game changer, she suggested that the scheme be given a name like Nyunatam Aamdani Yojana (NYAY). The CWC, in a resolution, endorsed Gandhi’s promise. Click here for more election news

Addressing a rally later at Adalaj near Gandhinagar, Priyanka attempted to steer the discourse on patriotism to issues concerning youth, women and farmers. “There is no bigger patriotism than your awareness,” she told the crowd. “Your awareness is a weapon. Your vote is a weapon… It is such a weapon that will make you strong.”

In her speech at the CWC, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi accused Modi of playing the “victim card” and said people of the country were “victims” of his “wrong policies”. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also addressed the meeting, spoke on the agrarian crisis, hampered industrial growth and unemployment. Sources said Rahul Gandhi too said the party should continue to highlight issues like the growing job crisis and agrarian distress.

The CWC resolution accused Modi of “cynically exploiting” the issue of national security to divert attention from his “colossal failures, bogus claims and persistent falsehoods.” It said India, as a mature democracy, has different viewpoints and ideologies represented by different political parties. “Dissent and articulation of ideological differences are integral to our political narrative, especially during elections. These must not be mistaken as weakness or disunity of the country,” it said.

Priyanka Vadra with Rahul, Manmohan Singh and Mallikarjun Kharge at a Congress rally near Gandhinagar on Tuesday. Javed Raja

The CWC said “an atmosphere of fear and insecurity is all-pervasive, particularly among women, students, academics, writers and the business community. There are deliberate attacks on Constitutional and other safeguards for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities and there is subversion of all institutions of governance’’.

“The CWC sends a stern and unequivocal message to India’s enemies that India stands united and resolute as one nation to confront and defeat their nefarious agenda. India is a resilient democracy, proud of its brave armed forces. It shall never be defeated by forces of violence and terror,” the resolution said.

Urging the people to unite and defeat BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, the CWC promised that the Congress would “restore the health of Indian economy, create job opportunities, give social justice and harmony’’ if voted to power.