New Delhi: Tuesday BJP leader Dushyant Gautam hit out at Congress leader Salman Khurshid after the ex-union minister – while speaking about his party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ – compared Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the yatra, to Lord Ram and the opposition outfit to ‘Bharat’. “If he is Ram’s avatar, then Rahul Gandhi should tell his ‘sena’ what he eats so he doesn’t feel cold… why doesn’t his ‘sena’ roam without clothes… Congressmen should roam naked as Lord Ram’s ‘sena’…” Gautam declared to the news agency ANI.
On Monday Khurshid called Rahul Gandhi ‘superhuman’ and told reporters, “While we are freezing in the cold and wearing jackets, he is going out in t-shirts… he is like a yogi doing ‘tapasya’ with focus.”
Rahul Gandhi and the yatra arrived in Delhi Saturday morning, just as the season’s first cold wave dropped minimum temps to below five degrees Celsius.
“Lord Ram’s ‘khadau’ goes very far. When Ramji is not able to reach… Bharat takes the ‘khadau’ and goes to places. Like that, we have carried the ‘khadau’ in UP. Now, ‘khadau’ has reached… Ramji (Rahul Gandhi) will also come,” he added.
Hours earlier Rahul Gandhi visited the shrines of Mahatma Gandhi and a few former prime ministers and paid his respects. Dressed in a simple white t-shirt and slacks, the Congress leader appeared oblivious to (nearly) freezing winter temperatures.
The party’s social media chief, Supriya Shrinate, told reporters images of Gandhi at the shrines were a rebuttal to protests by ‘BJP leaders covered in blankets… (who are) plotting to divide the nation’.
The Congress’ yatra has been under a haze of debate since it began in September; most recently after union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote to Rahul Gandhi about concerns over Covid protocols not being followed. The letter was dismissed by Congress as an attempt to derail its show of strength. Reference was made to rallies for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections – held by prime minister Narendra Modi and senior leaders from the opposition – that were allowed just days earlier.
“If any scientific protocol applies to this country, it will also apply to us. But it cannot be Covid-19 said ‘it will come for the Congress and not come for the BJP’. If someone follows the protocol, we will also follow it. But today, there is no protocol,” Khurshid said.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi, speaking outside Delhi’s iconic Red Fort, addressed a ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ rally on Saturday and accused the BJP of practicing ‘Hindu-Muslim propaganda… to divert attention from the real issues’.