New Delhi: The BJP said on Thursday attacked the Congress saying it had been reduced to fringes in electoral terms in Lok Sabha and its leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadras remarks about cutting into BJP votes on seats the party cannot win was "confessional statement of having become a fringe organisation."
Addressing a press conference, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley termed senior Congress leadership as "chunavi Hindus" (election Hindus) saying he had not seen them visiting temples in 2004, 2009 and 2014 general elections but they were doing so in this election.
Referring to remarks of Priyanka Gandhi that party would not adversely impact the prospects of the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh and its candidates will win or cut into the BJP's votes, Jaitley said: "In terms of electoral strategy, what congress leaders said that they are vote-splitters, this is confessional statement of having become a fringe organisation".
"I have been saying for quite some time that a mainstream party is gradually becoming a fringe player. The grand old party of Indian politics is now a fringe organisation," he said.
The BJP leader said Congress used to be a party of 300-400 seats and then was reduced to 125-150 seats during leadership of Rajiv Gandhi.
He said it is now a party of 40-70 seats though it had won more than 200 seats in 2009.
Jaitley attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his visit to JNU in 2016 and said that top leaders of the Congress in the past would not have gone to the campus where students who had raised anti-India slogans were being dealt with.
Answering a query, Jaitley said he had commented a few days back that it is an atmosphere of election and to call oneself a proud Hindu has become a habit of "chunavi Hindus".
"When VHP used to say 'garv se kaho ham Hindu hain' (say with Pride, I am Hindu) it was considered communal. Some people are saying the same after translating it. Digvijaya Singh has also said almost the same," he said.
"In 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections, I had not seen the top leadership of Congress going to temples. But in this election, they also have to become chunavi Hindus," he added.