North-South divide a BJP toolkit to divert attention: Congress defends Rahul Gandhi

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By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 25, 2021 1:21:11 am

Rahul Gandhi at the Kerala Secretariat, where PSC rank holders are on protest. (Photo: PTI)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks comparing voters in Kerala with those in the north were “avoidable” and “unnecessary”, a section of the Congress leaders said on Wednesday even as the party defended him and launched a counter-attack on the BJP, which had accused the Wayanad MP while of belittling north Indians.

This came a day after Gandhi, at a rally in Kerala, said he had been used to a different type of politics as an MP for 15 years from the north and coming to Kerala was “very refreshing”. “I found that people are interested in issues not just superficially but they like to go into detail,” he had said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Gandhi had given “a clarion call to people of India to question the governments, whether in the states or at the Centre”.

“The North-South divide is a toolkit being adopted and sold by the BJP to the news channels and to the public. Let us all rise up and ensure that governments of the day answer on issues and not on superficiality…BJP is trampling and stifling people’s mandate every day by purchasing legislators…those in power are trying to divert attention through superficial issues,” Surjewala said, adding that these are the issues Gandhi wants to bring back to the table.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told The Indian Express that the Congress has never believed in any distinction or discrimination based on region, religion or language and said it was for Gandhi to clarify in what context he had made those remarks.

“It was avoidable. The damage is done. It has created more misgivings. It has not helped Rahul forget about helping the Congress,” another leader said.

Some leaders part of the group of 23 who had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking reforms in the party also met at Ghulam Nabi Azad’s residence but sources said it was just an informal meeting over tea.

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