Cheetah release a tactic to divert attention, says Congress

India News

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over rising prices and unemployment in the country and said that instead of releasing cheetahs, he should spend his time resolving the unemployment crisis and issues related to increase in price of essential goods.

Addressing a rally as part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which culminated for the day at Cheppad near Haripad in Kerala, Rahul said the Centre is “systematically attacking small, medium businesses, farmers and labourers”.

“It’s absurd. The problems of the nation are unemployment and prices, but the PM is releasing cheetahs in the wild,” PTI quoted him saying. “You imagine the Prime Minister should be spending his time resolving the unemployment crisis and resolving price rise issues. But he is busy photographing cheetahs.”

Addressing the media in Kolkata, Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh called Modi’s move to release cheetahs in Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh a “tamasha” and a “tactic to divert attention” from the “success” of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

“It has been 10 days since the Bharat Jodo Yatra started, (and) the spontaneous response we received shows the initiative is turning out to be immensely successful,” Ramesh said. “This has irked the BJP and its leadership. They now want to change the narrative and are looking for diversionary tactics. The ‘dirty tricks department’ of BJP is now working overtime to create a separate media narrative or to find flaws in the Yatra.”

This release of cheetahs, he claimed, is the “latest from that department after its attempts to create issues over a T-shirt (Rahul Gandhi wore during the yatra) and other things.”

Without naming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee or her party, the TMC, Ramesh said there “cannot be an Opposition unity without the Congress.” He urged other parties not to “back-stab” or “weaken” the Congress.

He said: “If people are interested in Opposition unity, they must understand (that) without a strong Congress, no Opposition unity is possible. Second, a coalition government must have a strong Congress. There are several parties which want Opposition unity so that the Congress is weakened. We will not let this happen. Opposition parties should know that if you want to come along with Congress, don’t weaken it. Do not back-stab the Congress.”

Hitting back, TMC leader Kunal Ghosh later said, “Neither Chief Minister Banerjee nor TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee has advocated for an opposition unity without Congress. They have said that Congress has not played the role of the (main) Opposition in uniting other opposition parties. The Congress has failed to defeat BJP in several states where they are in a direct contest, but TMC has defeated BJP in West Bengal. Having said that, no one is saying there should be an opposition unity without the Congress…”

With PTI inputs

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