Sonia Gandhi may have sidestepped Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's allegations on her travel bills during her first rally on the campaign trail in Gujarat, but can she continue to dodge the BJP leaders barbs as he attempts to grow beyond the state?
According to Prabhu Chawla, editorial director of The New Indian Expressyesterday's strategy was a 'clever' move by Sonia.
"Sonia Gandhi has understood that every time she makes a comment Modi will make capital out of her misuse of words. She is focussing on Modi's developments rather than his rhetoric," he told CNN IBN.
The comment assumes special significance in the light of the fact that Sonia kicked off Congress' poll campaign from Saurashtra, considered one of the least developed districts in Gujarat.
"Sonia questions the credibility of Modi's development and therefore raises region-wise discripancies," he said.
However, the BJP party is leaving no stone unturned to make the state poll, a platform to deal with the comparison of policies carried out by the Centre and the State.
"Gujarat government is being discriminated against by the Centre," said Meenakshi Lekhi, National Vice President of BJP.
She complained that the cotton crop had failed to generate income in recent years because of the wrong pricing policies of the Central government.
She also pointed out that Modi's attack on Sonia is not targeting her medical bills, but her trips abroad.
Saying his attack was a sign of his good governance, she said," If the NAC (National Advisory Council) has instituted the RTI then why is it shying away from responding to queries about the bills of its own Chairman(Sonia Gandhi)?"
However, some believe that Modi's attempts to take on the Congress president are a sign of him spreading his wings.
Modi might be sharpening his strategy to contest two jobs and not one, according to Vinod Mehta, Outlook editorial chairman.
"His eyes are on Delhi as well as on the state of Gujarat," said Mehta.
Sections of the BJP have projected Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan as a potential Prime Ministerial Candidate but according to Mehta, Modi would want to counter that by projecting a new face, that is focussed purely on development and which has no tinge of fundamentalism to it.