Congress president Sonia Gandhi and his son Rahul Gandhi. (Photo Credit: File/PTI)
The absence of Gandhi family from the swearing-in ceremony of their foe-turned-friend Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as the new Maharashtra chief minister has given the Opposition BJP to corner the Congress party. Referring to the absence of Gandhis from Thackeray's swearing-in, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao asked if Shiv Sena was "untouchable" for Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress is part of the 'Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi' coalition government led by Shiv Sena, a party identified with Hindutva politics and "anti-Congressism" since its inception. Uddhav, otherwise considered an affable, mild-mannered politician, has once called Rahul Gandhi a "fool".
"Is Rahul scared that hugging Uddhav Thackeray is equivalent to hanging himself? Sena is wanted for grabbing power but is an untouchable. This is how Sultanetes treat slaves, not partners. This is the ultimate insult to the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray, the pride of Maharashtra," the BJP leader said.
The reluctance behind Congress leadership over new-found friendship with the Shiv Sena is being viewed as a political compulsion. In fact, last time when the three parties – Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress – were trying to stich up an alliance, the Grand Old Party had almost decided not to be part of the rainbow coalition.
There were reports that the Congress interim chief and her son Rahul Gandhi were not in favour of any alliance with the Shiv Sena. In fact, at one point in its mouthpiece Saamana, Shiv Sena had taken a sharp swipe at Sonia Gandhi and termed her as ‘Italian Mummy’. Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray was openly critical about Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin.