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Priyanka ‘coward’ tag on night booklet campaign

Lucknow, May 2: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today described as “cowards” those clandestinely distributing slanderous booklets against her and her family at night at places in Amethi where she is scheduled to campaign the next day.

“They are distributing booklets and pamphlets in the middle of the night in some places. I want to tell those who are doing it, ‘Do it openly’,” Priyanka told a meeting at the Shahgarh Shaheed Chowk at Gauriganj in Amethi.

“If you have to say something, say it openly. Why do it like cowards?”

Priyanka, campaigning in Amethi for brother Rahul, did not name any political party or leader but said: “I’m sure you know who tells lies and who indulges in nautanki (drama).”

Congress sources said local party leaders had shown Priyanka some of the booklets this morning. A few of the booklets carry the names of certain Opposition leaders, sources said, but it isn’t clear whether they are genuinely involved in the slander campaign. The Congress plans to complain to the Election Commission.

Amarnath Agarwal, a Congress spokesperson, said the campaign had gone beyond Amethi. He cited media reports saying Uttarakhand police had last week seized booklets, from the Kashipur area of Udham Singh Nagar district, that used abusive language against Rahul, Priyanka and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Kashipur subdivisional magistrate Ashish Kumar Singh confirmed today that the police had lodged an FIR against unidentified people.

The controversy comes at a time Priyanka and Narendra Modi have been locked in a verbal battle, especially over allegations of illegal land deals against her husband Robert Vadra.

Priyanka this week accused the BJP of acting like “befuddled rats” after the party released a booklet and a CD on the controversy.

Yesterday, told that Modi had claimed she was like a daughter to him, Priyanka had retorted: “I am Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter. He died for this country. In my heart, I cannot compare him to anyone else.”

BJP leader Arun Jaitley today accused Priyanka of having pushed Rahul “out of the frame” by continuing to attack Modi daily in “somewhat impolite language”, a PTI report said.

“Ostensibly intended to attack Narendra Modi daily in somewhat impolite language, the sister has succeeded in robbing the brother from being in the limelight. Attack Modi was the strategy but ‘dilute Rahul’ is the consequence,” Jaitley wrote in an article.

“Having pushed the brother out of the frame, the sister has to realise that there is much more in politics and the country than only ‘our family’.”

Amethi votes on May 7