After Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi told the Supreme Court that he would stand trial for his alleged statement that the RSS was responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the party plans to turn the legal drama into a political fight, projecting Rahul as the main opponent of the ideology of the Sangh.
A leader close to Rahul said there was disquiet in the Congress after the leader’s legal team conveyed to the apex court that he had not referred to the RSS as an institution in his statement but had spoken about certain individuals associated with the Sangh as being responsible for the killing of Mahatma Gandhi.
"It would have left us with questions to answer for a long time to come on where we stood with regard to the ideology of the RSS," the leader said. "Congress leaders and workers are very happy with the stand taken by Rahul Gandhi in the court," he said.
Rejecting the idea that Rahul had done a u-turn in the court by deciding to stand trial, the leader said he had never taken back his statement made in a public meeting in Thane, Maharashtra in March, 2014. Rahul’s lawyers have withdrawn from the Supreme Court his plea for quashing of criminal defamation charges levelled against him for the comments.
"There is no u-turn. What has happened so far is part of the legal strategy adopted by his counsels in court. They went to the High Court and the Supreme Court for relief and exhausted all legal options. There is nothing wrong in that," he said.
However, the explanation given to the top court on what Rahul had said—that he had not referred to the RSS as an institution—had given rise to disquiet in the party.
"The fight now will take place in the trial court as well as at the political level. The debate on the RSS’ role in the freedom movement or lack of it and its views on Gandhi will all come into the public domain,” the leader said.