In an article on the BJP's website, Arun Jaitley attacked the Congress over reports that some of its senior leaders were not keen on contesting elections.
Referring to an interview given by Gandhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said the Congress leader has decided to "talk up the morale of his party" in view of odds faced by it. "He (Gandhi) 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," Jaitley said.
Gandhi had said in an interview that Congress would improve its tally of 2009 election, when it had won 206 seats.
Jaitley claimed that some Congress leaders were not willing to contest elections, apprehending defeat. "Some look good only when the going is good. If the going is tough, they collapse. That appears to be the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) and Rahul Gandhi story. 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 blame game is about to begin," he said.
Jaitley also contended that the election agenda was loaded against the Congress. "The voters are worried about price rise, economy and corruption. They want a leadership which is decisive and inspirational. The Congress and UPA are failing to set the agenda. They are at best responding to the agenda set by their opponents," he said.
The BJP leader accused the Congress leadership of lacking the required charisma and appeal. "For the Congress even its leadership is proving to be unacceptable. It lacks the charisma and the appeal which is required today. At the end of the day, the Congress goes into the poll without an agenda with inadequate allies and without an effective leadership. If things can go wrong, they surely will go wrong," he said.
Jaitley said Congress allies were deserting the party and no new ally was joining them. He added a large chunk of seats that UPA got in the last election came from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. "In Tamil Nadu, the Congress is isolated with a single digit percentage votes. It barely expects to pick up any seat. In Andhra Pradesh, it played the Telangana card not out of conviction but out of vote bank strategy. It has simply become a liability for its candidates in Seemandhra. In Telangana, the TRS has turned its back on the Congress," Jaitley said.
Referring to the BJP's backing of statehood for Telangana and its demand for additional economic package for Seemandhra, Jaitley said the party can go to both the regions "with our heads held high". "Today, we have a positive prospect of our alliances in both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh," he said.