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PM Modi’s ‘fake strongman image’ is now India’s biggest weakness, says Rahul Gandhi

Commenting on the recent India-China border face-off in the Ladakh region, the Congress leader claimed it was not just a border issue but designed to put pressure on Mr. Modi.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

In one of his most direct attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said Mr. Modi had come to power with the help of a ‘fabricated strongman image’ but now that image of a leader with a 56-inch chest was under attack from China.

He alleged that while the Chinese were sitting in our territory, Mr. Modi publicly said they were not because “he is worried about his image and defending his image”.

The former Congress chief said if the Prime Minister allowed “the Chinese to understand that they can manipulate him because of his image, the Indian Prime Minister will no longer be worth anything for India”.

In a new video on the ongoing border crisis, the Congress leader claimed that China may be thinking on a larger scale of “doing something with Pakistan in Kashmir” and wanted to improve its tactical position in areas such as Demchok, Galwan and Pangong lake.

Also Read | Rahul Gandhi keeps up attack on Narendra Modi

“PM fabricated a fake strongman image to come to power. It was his biggest strength. It is now India’s biggest weakness,” Mr. Gandhi tweeted with a new video playing for two minutes and 39 seconds.

Commenting on the recent India-China border face-off in the Ladakh region, the Congress leader claimed it was not just a border issue but designed to put pressure on Mr. Modi.

“And what they are doing, is that they are attacking his image. They understand that it in order for Mr. Narendra Modi to be an effective politician; in order for Mr. Narendra Modi to survive as a politician, he has to protect the idea of ‘chhappan inch’ [56-inch chest]. And this is the real idea the Chinese are attacking,” the Congress leader said.

Also Read | Congress demands response from PM Modi on China face-off

“They are basically telling Mr. Narendra Modi that if you do not do what we say, we will destroy the idea of Mr. Narendra Modi as a strong leader. Now the question is, how will Mr. Narendra Modi react. Will he take them on? Will he take on the challenge and say absolutely not, I’m the Prime Minister of India. I do not care about my image I’m going to take you on. Or will he succumb to them? The worry I have so far is that the Prime Minister has succumbed,” he added.

China’s strategy

“Chinese don't do anything without thinking about it strategically. In their mind, they have mapped out the world and they are trying to shape the world. That’s the scale of what they are doing. That’s what Gwadar is, that is what Belt and Road is. It is a restructuring of the planet. So when you’re thinking about the Chinese you have to understand that that is the level at which they are thinking,” Mr. Gandhi said.

Also Read | India reviews progress of disengagement talks

The latest video is the second part of a new series that he launched last Friday. In the first video, Mr. Gandhi had said the Prime Minister’s blunders, fragile economy, troubled neighbourhood and a weak foreign policy had prompted China to act.

The comment led to a strong comeback by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, a career diplomat, who claimed India's global standing had only gone up and now engaged with China on equal terms.

“Pakistan [that you skipped] surely notes the difference between Balakot and Uri on the one hand, and Sharm-el-Sheikh, Havana and 26/11 on the other. Ask yourself,” Mr. Jaishankar had said in his reply to Mr. Gandhi’s first video.


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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 12:48:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pm-modis-fake-strongman-image-is-now-indias-biggest-weakness-says-rahul-gandhi/article32135389.ece

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