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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Congress plays it down as BJP plays Modi card

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 13, 2013
First Published: 22:48 IST(13/9/2013) | Last Updated: 22:52 IST(13/9/2013)

As the BJP played the much - awaited card - Narendra Modi as its prime minister candidate - the Congress tried to play down its rival's moves.

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The ruling party has adopted a strategy of not making the election a Rahul Gandhi versus Narendra Modi battle. Instead, it wants to focus on issues like stability and performance as its poll plank.
 
The Congress maintained that it remains unaffected by the developments in the Opposition camp.

"Why should we be afraid of Modi? They should be afraid of us. Our policy to carry the forward has nothing to do with BJP's internal issue," Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said.
 
Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari took potshots at the RSS and tweeted, "A Nagpur-based shadowy cabal of unaccountable geriatric gentlemen in period attire can ram decisions down BJP's throat and call it internal democracy."
 
Although Congress insiders claimed that the party's strategy for the next election will not be centred around any personality-war but it also fears that after Modi's anointment as BJP's PM candidate, the saffron party will further try to polarise the voters on communal lines.

"The issues related to corruption will take a backseat as the BJP's prime target would be to flare up communal sentiments. We have a tougher challenge now to curb it," said a leader.
 
A section of the party also feels it now becomes easier for the Congress to get post-poll allies in case of a hung parliament as many parties, like the Left or the JD(U) will have not much choice but to support the Congress to keep Modi's BJP at bay.
 
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, however, sounded confident that Modi would not be able to cut votes. 

"A person, who, because of his personal ambitions, broke his own alliance and created a controversy in his own party can neither keep the nation united, nor the people will ever accept him," Singh said at Indore.
 
Ironically, former Lal Krishna Advani aide Sudheendra Kulkarni also echoed similar lines: "A socially polarising leader has polarised his own party. Can he run a smooth, stable and effective government at the Centre? Think seriously!" he said on Twitter.
 
Like many other parties, UPA's estranged ally, Trinamool Congress too, chose to ignore Modi's elevation as an "internal matter of the BJP". "We have our own strategies," said party's spokesperson Derek O-Brian.


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