Tainted netas, Rahul Gandhi’s delay and Chole Bhature: How Congress lost the plot on day of nationwide fast

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Published: April 9, 2018 5:35:57 PM

Congress president Rahul Gandhi faced a number of embarrassments during the country-wide fast he had organised to target the Narendra Modi government on Monday.

Early in the morning, Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, accused of 1984 Sikh Riots, arrived at the protest venue to put Gandhi's party in an embarrassing situation.Early in the morning, Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, accused of 1984 Sikh Riots, arrived at the protest venue to put Gandhi’s party in an embarrassing situation.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi faced a number of embarrassments during the country-wide fast he had organised to target the Narendra Modi government on Monday. Early in the morning, Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, accused of 1984 Sikh Riots, arrived at the protest venue to put Gandhi’s party in an embarrassing situation. The presence of the two leaders was well-used by the Bharatiya Janata Party which blamed the Congress of mocking Dalits in the country. Later, the two leaders left the venue, reportedly on the directions of top Congress leaders.

Another embarrassment for Congress came from Gandhi himself. The Congress president, who was scheduled to arrive and initiate the fast at 10.30 am, didn’t reach well before 12.30 pm. Many argued as to how a ‘day-long’ fast could start at 12.30 pm. Later, addressing a press conference, BJP spokesman Sambit Patra quipped if Gandhi had been unable to wake up on time. “As per our information he (Rahul Gandhi) reached the venue at 12.30 pm, what is the issue? Is he not able to wake up on time?” Patra said.

However, the biggest backlash for Congress came after Bharatiya Janata Party tweeted a photo of top leaders from Congress’ Delhi unit having breakfast before arriving at the protest site. The BJP tweeted a picture of Congress leaders Ajay Maken, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Harun Yusuf having breakfast at a Delhi restaurant. The picture soon went viral on social media. Asked if they had lunch, Arvinder Singh Lovely came up with a weird reply that their fast started at 10.30 am and that it was a picture taken before that time. In a bid to defend himself, he termed the fast as a ‘symbolic’ protest against Narendra Modi government and not a hunger strike.

Upon his arrival, Gandhi led his party’s nationwide daylong fast against caste violence, communalism and the non-functioning of Parliament allegedly due to policies of Modi government. Gandhi sat for several hours at Rajghat and was joined by senior leaders, including Kamal Nath, Mallikarjun Kharge, Sheila Dikshit, Ashok Gehlot, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and the party’s communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala.

Gandhi further slammed Modi of being “casteist” and “anti-Dalit”, and said his party will always stand against the BJP’s “oppressive” ideology. “The entire country knows that PM Modi is anti-Dalit, it is not a secret…The BJP follows ideology of oppressing Dalits, tribals, minorities. We will stand against and defeat it in 2019 general polls,” Gandhi told reporters.

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