Modi’s Aurangzeb jibe is proof that he sees Rahul Gandhi as competition, says Shiv Sena
Gandhi has matured into a leader, the party said in Saamana; not the first time that it has praised the Congress vice-presidentmumbai Updated: Dec 07, 2017 10:33 IST
As the battle for Gujarat enters its last leg, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his Aurangzeb-jibe about Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
The Sena said the way Modi has targeted Gandhi during his election rallies in Gujarat, is an indicator that the PM considers him as a “serious competition”.
Although Gandhi was dismissed as Pappu four years ago, he has emerged as a leader now, the editorial in ‘Saamana’, which is seen as Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s view.
“The prime minister criticised [Gandhi’s imminent elevation to the post of Congress president without any challenge] and said the coronation of Rahul Gandhi is like Aurangzeb Raj. This means Modi now considers Rahul as a serious competitor and that he is capable of leading,” the Sena said, in its editorial in the party mouthpiece.
At an election rally held earlier this week in Gujarat, Modi compared democracy in the Congress to the dynastic succession of Mughal rulers. “I want to congratulate Congress party for their Aurangzeb Raj,” Modi had said.
The BJP, meanwhile, chose not to react to its ally’s comments. “We would not like to comment to irrelevant things,” said Madhav Bhandari, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson.
The Saamana said all eyes are on Gandhi, who has the tough task of “reviving the party and breathing fresh life into it”. “The Gujarat Assembly polls, which were considered one-sided for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seems to have tired out the PM, but Rahul, who was called Pappu for four years, has turned into a leader,” the editorial said.
This is not the first time the Sena has lauded Gandhi. Last month, senior Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said, “Gandhi is capable of leading the country and that the Modi wave has faded—a statement that did not go down well with the BJP. It is wrong to call him (Gandhi) Pappu as he has changed in the past three years.”
Sena, the oldest member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), has a blow hot-blow cold relationship with its ally both at the Centre and in Maharashtra. After sitting out for the 2012 Gujarat elections, the Sena is now contesting around 65 seats in the polls that are scheduled in two phases on December 9 and December 14.
Describing Gandhi as the ‘man to watch’ for the BJP, the Sena said, “Rahul Gandhi has proved that he is no more a Pappu and the BJP must accept this magnanimously.” It also mocked the BJP, which had raised hue and cry over Gandhi visiting a temple during is campaigning in Gujarat. “Instead, the BJP should have welcomed Rahul’s temple trip, which signals a victory of the ‘pro-Hindutva’ forces, and that he could guide the Congress to adopt a ‘soft-Hindutva’ line,” the Sena suggested.
“If Modi has so much aversion to the rule of Aurangzeb, he should direct Maharashtra chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis) to demolish the tombs of Aurangzeb and Afzal Khan in the state, which have become places of worship,” the Saamana piece said.