Rahul says Kerala voters different from north, go into issues; BJP says don’t divide


By: Express News Service | New Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram |

February 24, 2021 4:30:14 am

CONGRESS leader Rahul Gandhi found himself under BJP attack on Tuesday after he compared voters in Kerala with those in the north, praising the southern state for being “interested in issues”.

Addressing a public gathering in Thiruvananthapuram, Rahul said, “For the first 15 years, I was an MP in the north, I had got used to a different type of politics. For me, coming to Kerala was very refreshing as suddenly I found that people are interested in issues, and not just superficially, but going into detail.”

Several BJP leaders and Union ministers hit back, calling Rahul an “opportunist” and accusing him of belittling North Indians. In a tweet, BJP president J P Nadda said, “A few days back he (Gandhi) was in the Northeast, spewing venom against the western part of India. Today in the South he is spewing venom against the North. Divide and rule politics won’t work, @RahulGandhi Ji! People have rejected this politics. See what happened in Gujarat today!”

In the Gujarat civic poll results declared Tuesday, the Congress was wiped out, winning 55 of 576 seats.

Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani called Rahul “ungrateful”. Irani had defeated Rahul from his family bastion Amethi in the last general elections, and he made it to Parliament from the second Lok Sabha seat he contested, Wayanad in Kerala.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju told Rahul not to “abuse Amethi and North Indians”. “Amethi people have given so much chance to your entire family!”

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted, “The man who ran to Kerala to save his Lok Sabha seat questions the intelligence of North Indians, including those who faithfully voted for his family for generations! Fact is… he was forced to run because of non-performance and lack of development.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “I hail from the South. I am an MP from a Western state. I was born, educated and worked in the North. I represented all of India before the World. India is one. Never run down a region; never divide us.”

Rahul was addressing a rally in Thiruvananthapuram at the end of a 22-day-long Aishwarya Yatra. He said he learnt a lot from Kerala and understood a bit about the “wisdom of the people” there, and that he told some students in the US recently how he “really enjoys” the “intelligence” with which Kerala does politics.

Incidentally, in his speech, Rahul also said the BJP would be watching it closely to attack him. “I fight the BJP, I fight the ideology of the RSS. Every step I take, the BJP is attacking me. Right now they are watching my speech to see what is in it to attack.”

He also lashed out at the Centre over the contentious farm laws and rising fuel prices, and accused the Centre and Kerala governments of giving money to the richest.

“Why is it that cases against the LDF, cases against a person who worked in the Chief Minister’s Office are progressing so slowly?” The central agencies are probing cases related to gold smuggling.

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