Congress has inadequate leader, so creating fake issues: Jaitley on Rafale controversy

New Delhi: Attacking Congress President Rahul Gandhi as a leader with “inherent and inbuilt limitations”, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday accused his party of manufacturing a controversy around Rafale deal by creating “fake issues”.

He also accused the Congress of engaging in an implied battle with the Federal Front in order to reclaim the minority vote by comparing Hindus with ‘Taliban’ and using phrases such as ‘Hindu Pakistan’.

Making a sharp attack on Gandhi, he said the opposition party was resorting to such strategies of creating “fake issues” because it had “an inadequate leader and no real issue”.

“The Congress realises that there is a danger of the next election becoming a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s performance. The popularity gap between the Prime Minister and his competitors is very wide,” he said.

He said the Congress with a leader who has “inherent and inbuilt limitations” was left with no choice and no issue.

“If you have no issue, manufacture one. Hence the Rafale’s fake controversy. The Congress’s strategy is, therefore, two-fold. It has manufactured the issue of the Rafale deal. The issue is failing to cut much ice.

“The second strategy of the Congress is directed against the federal front. By attacking the BJP on certain issues, it is engaged in an implied battle with the federal front in order to reclaim the minority vote. Comparison of Hindus with ‘Taliban’ and phrases such as ‘Hindu Pakistan’ are intended to help it against the federal front to reclaim the minority vote,” he wrote.

The minister said that such a strategy to redefine secularism would backfire as in doing so the Congress was antagonising the majority against itself.

“As equal participants in the Indian electoral process, the minorities have a constitutional right of a vote. But so does the majority. By redefining secularism as a euphemism for majority bashing, the Congress Party is antagonising the majority against itself,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.

The senior BJP leader said the Congress had a history of creating fake issues and was resorting to the same strategy of concocting controversies as it did in 1989 when there was an outrage in the whole country against the Congress party and its leadership on the Bofors issue.

“The Congress party’s strategists invented a counter strategy of diversion by creating a fake issue. A bank account in St. Kitts was created in the name of V.P. Singh’s son so that the Congress could now have a face saving argument – if we are corrupt, so are you,” Jaitley wrote.

He added that the opposition party used the same strategy in 1999 when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, in the backdrop of the Kargil conflict, was likely to come back to power.

“The Congress was faced with a massive defeat, it manufactured an issue of sugar export to Pakistan. Some two dozen press conferences on the issue were organised to question the government’s commitment to nationalism. The truth of the allegation was that a mid-level unknown Chandni Chowk trader had been exporting an OGL (open general licence) item, sugar, to Pakistan,” he said.

Jaitley said just like the strategy fell flat then, so will it now as the Congress was either non-existent or a poor third or fourth in larger states which account for 50 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats.

“Of the balance seats, if it enters into some form of alliance, it may have to concede seats in several states to its allies. It is, therefore, faced with the prospect of effectively contesting only about 225 seats where it will face a direct clash with the BJP,” Jaitley said.

“If the first part of the Congress-mukt Bharat was scripted by the BJP, the Federal Front is more than eager to script the part-2 of the same. Its message to the Congress is clear – ‘you will have to support us; the other way is not possible’,” he said.

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