Both BJP and Congress think Rajiv Gandhi issue suitable
New Delhi, May 10: Former Congress President and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has acquired center-stage ahead of the remaining two phases of the on-going Lok Sabha elections after Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed him as Bhrastachari number 1 (corrupt number 1).
The allegation was in response to the Congress President Rahul Gandhi's relentless attack on Prime Minister Modi over the Rafale deal.
It's notable that Rahul Gandhi has been making people chant Chowkidar Chor Hai (watchman is a thief) in his rallies. The Prime Minister calls himself a Chowkidar, the one who is committed to protect India's interests.
Prime Minister Modi did not stop after terming Rajiv Gandhi as corrupt number 01 and challenged the Congress to fight remaining phases of the on-going Lok Sabha elections in the name of Rajiv Gandhi, whose name had figured in the Bofors scam in mid-1987, which resulted in a major defeat for the Congress in the 1989 election.
Even on Thursday, Prime Minister Modi again trained his guns at Rajiv Gandhi and said he had used Indian Navy's warship INS Vikrant for holidaying with his wife Sonia Gandhi, children and in-laws.
The latest bombshell by Prime Minister Modi has opened a can of worms that how the security of the country was compromised. Soon after the Prime Minister levelled the charge, former navy chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas denied it. However, a group of ex-naval officers on Friday backed Prime Minister Modi's claim.
Former Navy Commander VK Jaitly and former navy officer, Lieutenant Commander Harinder Sikka have said on record that the Gandhi family had extensively used INS Vikrant and other naval resources during their holidays.
It's election time and every political party is leaving no stone unturned to better its chances.
Congress has accepted Prime Minister Modi 's challenge and has started projecting it as an insult to the former prime minister.
The party high command has given directions to the state units and candidates where elections are due to aggressively defend Rajiv Gandhi.
Congress leaders feel that Prime Minister Modi has given them an issue that has charged up inactive Congress workers.
A senior Congress leader claims the Prime Minister Modi 's continuous attacks on Rajiv Gandhi are not being liked by the common man.
"Congress workers and leaders have kept aside their differences and forgot who is contesting on the Congress ticket. They have joined hands to safeguard the honour of their beloved leader late Rajiv Gandhi, " says the leader.
He says that surprisingly Prime Minister Modi has helped in mobilising Congress cadres in Uttar Pradesh, who were inactive due to their grievances with the party.
When asked about the latest row over INS Vikrant, he became uncomfortable and said all the allegations are false.
On the other hand, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) source claim that Prime Minister Modi has killed many birds with an arrow.
"Congress cooked up corruption angle in the Rafale deal and started terming Prime Minister Modi a chor. The Prime Minister just brought Rajiv Gandhi in the centre-stage and achieved many goals, " says the source.
"Prime Minister reminded the country that Rahul Gandhi who is terming him a chor over Rafale deal actually comes from a corrupt family as his father Rajiv Gandhi was named in the infamous Bofors scam."
Though Rajiv Gandhi has been given a clean chit by the court, but even former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom, who investigated the Bofors scam case, has said that Rajiv Gandhi was guilty of knowing about the kickbacks and not taking action on them.
The source added that the another goal that Prime Minister Modi has achieved is that he has refreshed the memories of horrible 1984 anti-Sikh riots just ahead of the polling in Delhi and Punjab where Sikh voters play a decisive role.
Anti-Sikh riots were broken out across India after two Sikh bodyguards of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had killed her on October 31, 1984, for ordering Operation Blue Star in June that year. Over 3000 Sikhs were killed across India in the riots.
Indian military had carried out Operation Blue Star between 1 and 8 June 1984 to remove militant religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed militants from the buildings of the Harmandir Sahib complex, known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar, Punjab. After the death of Indira Gandhi, her son Rajiv Gandhi had become Prime Minister.
"It was Rajiv Gandhi who had given a free hand to the rioters to teach Sikhs a lesson. Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, HKL Bhagat were pawns who were following directions of Rajiv Gandhi, " says the BJP source.
Meanwhile, BJP on Friday tweeted a video of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The video posted on the BJP's official Twitter handle includes a clip of Rajiv Gandhi saying, on the riots, "When a tree falls, the earth shakes."
Last December, former Congress parliamentarian Sajjan Kumar was jailed for life by the Delhi High Court for his role in the riots.
The Congress still doesn't accept that Rajiv Gandhi gave a free hand to the rioters but according to the 2011 WikiLeaks cable leaks, the United States was convinced of Indian National Congress' complicity in the riots and called it "opportunism" and "hatred" by the Congress government, of Sikhs.