HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Snooping row: probe sets stage for a nasty Congress-BJP verbal war ahead of LS poll campaign

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 27, 2013
First Published: 08:31 IST(27/12/2013) | Last Updated: 13:45 IST(27/12/2013)

The Centre’s move to probe the alleged snooping on a young woman by the Gujarat government barely four months before the Lok Sabha elections appears to have set the ball rolling for a no-holds-barred verbal war between the Congress and the BJP.

The Congress-led UPA government had been hinting about this probe ever since details of alleged stalking and phone-tapping were put in public domain by two investigative websites last month, which could bring the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in the line of fire and raise the political temperature during the winter.

The BJP has made it clear that it will take the fight to the people and its leaders have already termed the probe as a witch-hunt and a desperate attempt by the Congress to divert attention from Modi’s growing popularity.

The BJP strategy, so far, has been to keep Modi away from reacting on the issue and it remains to be seen whether the party’s prime ministerial candidate will himself break the silence or leave it to his party colleagues to take the fight to the Congress. 

The BJP, buoyed by an impressive performance in the recently concluded assembly elections in four states, is preparing to further sharpen attack on the Congress on the corruption issue.

Read: Cabinet clears probe in Gujarat snooping, BJP fumes

The party has made clear its intention of not only targeting top Congress leaders over the issue but also their family members.

Congress sources said the party and government were not worried over a possible counter-attack from the BJP since the opposition party appeared to have exhausted its ammunition of allegations.

The Congress also seeks to put the BJP on the defensive on matters of personal liberty and human rights, given the alleged high degree of involvement of the Gujarat government in snooping on a young woman. The BJP’s opposition to decriminalising gay sex — an issue that finds resonance among young voters — will also be taken up.

With both the key players re-working strategies on the election chessboard, the voters can expect an action-packed, often vitriolic, political drama in the coming days.

Read: Chidambaram takes dig at Modi govt over snooping row

Read: Cong, BJP slug it out over 'snooping' on woman by Gujarat Police

Read: Snooping allegation: Rajnath backs Amit Shah

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