Congressional Rahul Gandhi today asked Karnataka party leaders not to play into the hands of the BJP in its plans to polarize the state through the hijab issue. The BJP-ruled state — where the row over the use of headscarves in educational institutions has emerged as a divisive issue — is headed for parliamentary elections next year.
Meeting with senior Karnataka party leaders – including opposition leaders in both houses of the state assembly, the head of the party’s state unit and other office holders – Mr Gandhi asked that they focus on the core issues of governance. The Bommai government, he said, has failed to deliver.
Congress plans to hold a series of public agitations to highlight the failures of the state’s BJP government, senior party leader Randeep Surjewala said after the closed-door meeting in Delhi.
The leaders plan to draw attention to the cyrpto currency scam, 40 percent corruption in government contracts, in addition to underemployment, rising prices and various local issues, he added.
“With the election polls only 14 months away, those issues have been discussed in preparation for the elections,” Surjewala told reporters.
The mega rally took place amid divisions among senior leaders within the state who believe the BJP is succeeding in polarizing the people and the party needs clarity on the issue, especially given the recent hijab-related protests and violence.
Officially, the party has not spoken much about the hijab issue, stating that the matter is pending in court.
Speaking before, Gandhi slammed the controversy, saying the country is “robbing the future of its daughters” by letting it get in the way of their education.
“Ma Saraswati educates everyone. She doesn’t discriminate,” he also tweeted using the hashtag “#SaraswatiPuja”.
The head of the State Congress, DK Shivkumar, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, and other leaders assured Mr Gandhi that if the Congress works together, it would be able to defeat the BJP in the parliamentary elections scheduled for next year.