Terming the Congress a “sinking ship,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Monday said even its senior leaders had decided to desert the party while some were refusing to contest the Lok Sabha elections.

“Faced with odds, even senior leaders have decided to desert the sinking ship. Some are refusing to contest. Others are feigning ill health for not contesting,” the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha wrote on his website.

Attacking Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, he said the Congress leader “has decided to talk up the morale of his party” in these difficult times.

“He claims that opinion polls are jokes and that the Congress would improve upon its 2009 tally. If this is sheer bravado in order to lift the sinking morale of the Congressman, it is understandable. However, if he genuinely believes this to be true then surely he is completely cut off from reality,” Mr. Jaitley, who will contest the polls from Amritsar in Punjab, said.

He said several UPA partners, who had extended their support to the government in the past, were now distancing themselves from the Congress.

Noting that the UPA won a large chunk of seats from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the last elections, he said,

“In Tamil Nadu, the Congress is isolated with a single digit percentage votes,” adding that the TRS had turned its back on the Congress in Telangana.