Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had on Sunday claimed that the regional parties cannot fight the BJP and the RSS as they lack ideology. His remark, however, did not go down well with some of the parties, including Congress's former allies.
The RJD took a swipe at Rahul, saying his claims were "bizarre" and not in sync with his own party's stand. RJD spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha said regional parties are strong in a majority of Lok Sabha seats in the fight against the BJP, and the Congress should settle to be "co-travellers" and let them be in the "driving seat" in over 320 of the 543 parliamentary constituencies.
Jha said it was Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD chief) who stood with Congress president Sonia Gandhi when her own party leaders did not. Hundreds of RJD leaders and workers have suffered due to the party's ideological commitment in the fight against the BJP, he claimed.
Addressing the Congress leaders at party's Chintan Shivir in Udaipur, Rahul had said, "BJP will talk about Congress, will talk about Congress leaders, will talk about Congress workers, but will not talk about regional parties, because they know, that regional parties have their place, but they cannot defeat BJP. Because they don't have an ideology."
JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy said the Congress is facing a phobia of regional parties. He sought to remind Rahul that the national party has no presence in most parts of the country.
He took a sarcastic jibe at the Congress leader and asked him to elaborate to regional parties about ideological commitment.
"Is joining hands (with BJP) for the immoral operation 'Lotus' through the back door, after coming to our (JD-S) door with an alliance proposal and forming a coalition government with us, an ideological commitment? Is destroying alliance partners ideology-based politics?" he asked.
Kumaraswamy further told Rahul that he should not forget that his party enjoyed power for 10 years on the strength of regional parties.
"It (Congress) has no presence in most of the States like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha. Congress is in its last days in Karnataka. It will be better if Rahul Gandhi understands that,” he said.