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Rahul becoming increasingly sure-footed, said US cable in Feb

world Updated: Dec 17, 2010 10:36 IST
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Citing Rahul Gandhi's move to take on Shiv Sena's "xenophobic agenda," a secret memo from the US embassy in New Delhi in February this year said the young Congress leader appears to be becoming increasingly sure-footed in his political instincts.

The secret cable released by WikiLeaks is dated February 22, 2010 and is a diary of the political events in the country from January 30 to February 19.

The document said Gandhi's blunt words against the "Maharashtra chauvinist" party, followed by his visit to Mumbai that came with a local train ride was a public relations bonanza for him.

"Rahul Gandhi's Mumbai visit and his skirmishing with the Maharashtra chauvinist Shiv Sena party shows he is becoming increasingly sure-footed in his political instincts," said the cable.

The United States, which has accused WikiLeaks of stealing its secret cables, has refused to either deny or confirm the authenticity of these cables.

"He (Gandhi) first hurled some blunt words at the Thackerays and Shiv Sena's xenophobic agenda. These were widely and sympathetically reported around the country.

"He then took it a step further when the Shiv Sena issued 'Keep Off Maharashtra' threats by going to the Thackerays' home ground of Mumbai, where he continued to take shots at them," the cable says referring to the political events of those days.

"He (Gandhi) topped it off by showing the common touch when he made a last minute change in his itinerary to travel across town in a second-class train compartment.

"All in all, a public relations bonanza for Rahul as the press gave wide coverage to his Shiv Sena bashing and his train ride. Forty Shiv Sena activists were detained by the police for Rahul's visit," the cable observed.

Not to be outdone, the Shiv Sena has been grabbing headlines in recent days with its attacks on Rahul, Reliance Group's Mukesh Ambani and Bollywood icon Shahrukh Khan, the cable said.

It adds that the Shiv Sena has also been in a tussle with RSS, the parent organisation of its ally the BJP, over the rights of North Indian migrants in Mumbai.

"Media reports a rift between the RSS and the Shiv Sena over the Sena's verbal attacks on migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

"Rahul Gandhi came to the defence of North Indians living and working in Mumbai during an ongoing visit to Bihar by telling the press that the Sena was irrelevant and that all Indians had a right to reside freely in India," it said.

The document noted that Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray responded by launching an attack on Rahul Gandhi's "Italian Mummy," referring to UPA chief Sonia Gandhi.