|' I wonder why
stage a fake
New Delhi, Sept. 23: Sonia Gandhi has cleared a combative strategy to call Narendra Modi’s bluff and picked a team of experienced and articulate leaders to take on the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, following opposition to the hands-off approach that many in the party saw as surrender.
“Clearance has come from Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. They won’t speak directly on Modi but we will take care of his falsehood,” a top Congress leader told The Telegraph, revealing that P. Chidambaram, Digvijaya Singh, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Salman Khurshid and Jairam Ramesh have been assigned this task.
Research teams in Gandhinagar and Delhi have been working to collect data to “nail Modi’s lies”.
There was a dilemma within the Congress as several leaders argued against locking horns with Modi, saying his propaganda mills would churn out more than the Congress can ever imagine, and called for a constructive, issue-based campaign. But the opponents of this strategy convinced Sonia and Rahul that giving Modi a free run was proving suicidal. The Gujarat experience should not be allowed to override the national strategy, they further said.
Sonia had been wary of attacking Modi because in Assembly elections in Gujarat, he had milked every criticism by the Congress to his political advantage. An example was when the Congress president called him a “maut ka saudagar” — he successfully sold it to the voters as an “insult” to Gujarat’s pride and reaped poll dividends.
Accordingly, Congress spokespersons followed an unwritten code not to attack the Gujarat chief minister directly although they did try to puncture his lofty claims of development with statistics.
This is expected to change now. The Congress will try to portray Modi as a “corporate agent” who has “done little for the middle class” and has “no concern at all for the poor”, sources said
Asked if this would not be counter-productive and rub powerful corporate lobbies the wrong way, one senior leader said: “But those lobbies are anyway backing Modi and we have to fight it out.”
The Congress will also dissect Modi’s divisive persona and argue that his “development thrust” was a mask for the Sangh parivar’s obscurantist agenda.
“Today we see the rise of an abusive, intolerant culture in the social media. This is what Modi’s politics would encourage. Though social media has a limited role in our society, we will counter him there too,” a Congress leader said.
|' Atal golden
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today spoke against the misuse of social media for spreading hatred at the National Integration Council meeting.
The change in strategy is already showing.
Responding to Modi’s claim of over 8 per cent growth during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime, finance minister P. Chidambaram said: “I wonder why Modi should stage a fake encounter with facts.” The “fake encounter” reference while debunking Modi’s claim on growth was deliberate.
Digvijaya took to Twitter to respond Modi’s praise of the Vajpayee regime. “Atal golden era why? Because Modi didn’t follow rajdharma? Because Parliament was attacked? Because Terrorists released? Because thousands were killed in communal riots? Because Bangaru Laxman was caught on camera?” he tweeted. “Feku Modi at his best! Giving fake figures of growth during the NDA regime,” he further wrote.
Another tweet gave a glimpse of the plan to portray Modi as anti-poor. Digvijaya wrote: “He backs privileged. Congress backs under-privileged. Choice is yours.”