Having ignored Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s barbs and references to the 2002 riots for a long time, the Congress has now decided to take him head-on in a clear indication of an aggressive campaign strategy ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress’ change of strategy comes in the wake of the appointment of Modi as the BJP’s campaign committee chairman.
The party feels that Modi’s claims of development in Gujarat and criticism of the central government “need to be strongly countered” with figures and also by comparing the UPA’s performance with that of the BJP-led NDA regime.
In the 2012 assembly polls in Gujarat, the Congress had completely turned its back on Modi and resisted any move to attack him on the 2002 riots or fall into his trap of dragging the top leadership into the electoral battle. The party had kept the focus of the campaign on local issues but even then failed to make an impact on the poll outcome.
However, there will be no change in the Congress strategy of avoiding making 2014 polls a contest between party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Modi.