Congress strategy veering for Gujarat elections veering towards extremism: Nitish Kumar
Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday criticized the strategy adopted by the Congress in Gujarat elections and said the party was “veering towards extremism”.
The talks of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi being a “janeu dhari hindu” (one who wears the sacred thread) and the deliberate sidelining of top leaders like Ahmed Patel indicate a worrying trend in the grand old party, Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of his weekly ‘Lok Samvad’ programme.
“These trends show the party is veering towards extremism in its quest for votes. This is something it has always accused the BJP of,” he said. The Congress has claimed that Gandhi was a “janeu-dhari Hindu” after a row erupted over the alleged listing of his name in the register for non-Hinuds at the Somnath temple in Gujarat.
Kumar took exception to the use of the term “janeu- dhari”, saying the sacred thread was a mark of “caste-based inequality, which socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan had once refused to wear and had also asked his followers to discard. “By proudly flaunting janeu, the party has unwittingly alienated a large section of the society which has been at the receiving end of the rigid caste hierarchy,” Kumar alleged.
Asked about Gandhi’s nomination for the party president’s post, he said: “The person to be elected for the top position in the Congress is predetermined. People may aspire to get a place in the lower rungs but can never assume the leadership of the party.”
To a query about an audiotape that surfaced with a purported conversation between two senior Congress party leaders over Gandhi’s elevation, Kumar said, “We do not believe in taking advantage of a crisis inside another party. It was their sanskaar (values) to have done so when we were going through a rough patch.” Kumar’s remark was in reference to the Congress having come out in support of rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav after the Grand Alliance split in Bihar.
The JDU president reiterated that he saw the BJP in a very strong position in Gujarat and that the people there were proud of the fact that a son of their soil, Narendra Modi, has become the prime minister of India.