Training its guns at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress will campaign for the ruling party and its thoughts to quit the country, sources said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi will on Tuesday preside over the party’s working committee meeting at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sevagram ashram in Maharashtra’s Wardha district, and will lead a foot march on the occasion of the Father of the Nation’s 150th birth anniversary.
Addressing a press conference at Sevagram, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the party president will lead the ‘padyatra’ after garlanding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near the Collector’s Office in Wardha.
“The padyatra will culminate in a ‘Sankalp Rally’ at the Circus ground where he is expected to spell out the party’s future strategy and pledge to uphold Gandhian principles and ideology,” he said.
The decision to choose Wardha as the venue for the meeting is strategic as the main opposition party plans to corner the BJP for crushing Gandhi’s beliefs
In a veiled attack against the Narendra Modi government, Surjewala said those in power were merely doing “lip service” to the Gandhian thought “after murdering it”. “They swear by Mahatma Gandhi only for optics and photo-ops. Just by speaking about the Mahatma and releasing one’s photos (modelled on) like Gandhi, doesn’t make anybody a Gandhian,” he said.
Wardha also assumes significance due to its proximity with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur. Rahul Gandhi has been a vocal critic of the RSS, blaming its beliefs for the Mahatma’s killing.
In August, the Congress chief had equated the right-wing group to the radical Islamist outfit Muslim Brotherhood while addressing students in London. “RSS is trying to change the nature of India. Other parties haven’t tried to capture India’s institutions. RSS’s idea is similar to the idea of Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world,” he had said at the International Institute of Strategic Studies.
The strategy of the Congress behind picking Wardha also revolves around the Laxminarayan Temple, which was the first to allow Dalits to worship. Rahul Gandhi, in several recent speeches, has attacked the Modi government for working against the welfare of minorities, Dalits and women.
With its clear-cut strategy ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress hopes to reverse the fortunes of the ruling party and return to the centre stage.