Rahul Gandhi's remark on regional parties kicks up row
New Delhi, May 16: The Rashtriya Janata Dal on Monday asked Rahul Gandhi to look at recent electoral history of regional parties putting up a strong fight against the BJP as it took a swipe at him for his critical comments aimed at them, saying the Congress leader's claims were "bizarre" and not in sync with his own party's stand.
RJD spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha said regional parties are strong in a majority of Lok Sabha seats in the fight against the BJP, and the Congress should settle to be "co-travellers" and let them be in the "driving seat" in over 320 of the 543 parliamentary constituencies. This is a point RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has also made, he noted.
In his address at his party's 'Chintan Shivir" (brainstorming camp) in Udaipur, Gandhi had claimed that regional parties cannot fight the BJP-RSS as they lack ideology. The Congress can fight it, he said.
"I find it a little bizarre and out of sync," Rajya Sabha MP Jha told PTI.
He referred to the Congress declaration at the camp to take a swipe at him, saying Mr Gandhi will revise his statement if he looks at data. These kind of statements have no traction with history, he said.
The declaration said the Congress was committed to establishing a dialogue with all like-minded parties to protect the spirit of nationalism and democracy and would keep open avenues for forging alliances according to political circumstances.
Jha said it was the RJD which was at the receiving end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attack during elections as it was at the nucleus of the electoral and ideological fight against the BJP.
From RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav to Tejashwi Yadav, hundreds of RJD leaders and workers have suffered due to the party's ideological commitment in the fight against the BJP, he claimed.
It was Lalu Prasad Yadav who stood with Sonia Gandhi when her own party leaders did not, he said, in an apparent reference to many then Congress leaders questioning her leadership over her foreign origins and forming the NCP in 1999.
The RJD, the main opposition party in Bihar, had emerged as the single largest party in the 2020 assembly polls.
Addressing Congress leaders, Gandhi had said, "BJP will talk about Congress, will talk about Congress leaders, will talk about Congress workers, but will not talk about regional parties, because they know, that regional parties have their place, but they cannot defeat BJP. Because they don't have an ideology."