Caste-based violence in Haryana is BJP’s handiwork: Rahul Gandhi

Charging the BJP of playing divisive politics, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi blamed the caste friction in Haryana on the national party on Friday.

Gandhi said the violence over reservation for Jats was the premeditated handiwork of BJP, and was a replica of the Gujarat model of disruptive politics, indicating the 2002 Godhra incident that led to the communal riots. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister of the state at the time.

“I am not just insinuating. I am saying this very clearly that there is a clear design to divide people on caste and community lines by the BJP,” he said while interacting with journalists at his Tughlak road residence.

Citing a lack of violence during the Congress’ almost decade-long rule in Haryana, Gandhi said, “I see a well thought out design here. The BJP has been in power in the state for just 18 months and the state is already burning.”

As for his rather muted response when Haryana was in turmoil, Gandhi said he wanted to visit the state and interact with people but could not due to unavoidable circumstances.

The leader further accused the saffron party of believing in a centralisation of power and ideas.

“There’s no conversation going on there. This breakdown of conversation or lack of it has left Kashmir and Haryana burning.”

Training his guns on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) too, the BJP’s ideological progenitor, Gandhi said the problem was that neither organisation is ready to listen to people or even their party men. “I often interact with RSS people in Lok Sabha on several issues. And at the end of it, their response is – you will not understand. They are so full of themselves and believe they know everything. This attitude is ruining the country. There is no dialogue at all.”

On brother-in-law Robert Vadra and other BJP allegations

During the interaction, Gandhi had to field questions of his brother-in-law currying favours with the Congress government in Haryana over land deals. But he deftly deflected them by turning them back on the NDA.

“If that is the case, why the BJP government in the state has not initiated any legal action even after 18 months of their rule? Why don’t they produce the evidence,” Rahul asked.

He even took a dig at the party for their allegations of him holding UK citizenship.

As for the ongoing slugfest over the AgustaWestland scam, Gandhi alleged the BJP-led NDA was dredging up the issue to divert attention from real problems.

“The BJP knows very well that we are going to raise the Gujarat oil scam and nail the perpetrator. So in comes Subramanian Swamy who is very deft at using such diversionary tactics.”

Going solo in Uttar Pradesh

The Congress vice-president said the party will go it alone in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections this time. “You might think I am crazy when I say that we will not have an ally in UP. But that’s how it’s going to be.”

As for their humiliating defeat in the Delhi assembly polls, he said the party paid the price for its arrogance.

He further thanked Modi for the 2014 election experience, stating it made him a better politician.

“The more heat they (BJP) generate the more refined I will emerge,” he said.

Shift in Punjab

Focus has been growing on Punjab that goes to polls early next year, aside from Uttar Pradesh. Parties like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have been attempting to build their voter base there. However, Gandhi claimed there was a shift in favour towards the Congress in the past week. He further alleged AAP-chief Arvind Kejriwal was pumping money earned from Delhi in to Punjab poll campaign.

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