Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday linked Congress "black" protest over the issues of price rise and unemployment to the party's "appeasement" politics to convey its opposition to the Ram temple foundation laying by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this day in 2020.
Speaking to reporters, Shah said everybody saw protests from Congress leaders of late in regular clothes they wore but they especially chose black clothes for today's agitation as Modi had peacefully resolved an over 550-year dispute involving the Ram Janmbhoomi in Ayodhya and performed its 'shilanyas' on this day.
"I clearly believe that the Congress has chosen August 5 for its strong protests in black clothes to show its opposition over the temple issue," he said. The home minister added that the Congress is not willing to drop its "appeasement politics" despite facing so many poll defeats.
The Uttar Pradesh CM said he condemns Congress' "black protest" and said such acts of the grand old party "have insulted the faith of India".
"Till now, Congress was protesting in normal attire but today they protested wearing black clothes. It's an insult to Ram Bhakts. They chose this day as today's Ayodhya Diwas which marks the beginning of construction of Ram Janambhoomi," Yogi Adityanath said.
"Such acts of the Congress party have insulted the faith of India. Congress' attitude has insulted Ayodhya Diwas along with insulting India's democracy and judiciary. We condemn such acts of the party," he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress hit back, saying it was a desperate attempt to "divert, distract, polarise and give a malicious twist" to its democratic demonstrations against price rise.
"It's only a sick mind which can produce such bogus arguments. Clearly the protests have hit home!" Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted.
For the unversed, Congress today chose black as the colour of the protest. Black kurtas, black headgears, black scarves and black sarees were the sartorial choices the party leaders opted for as part of a novel protest to draw the government's attention to what they said was a "grim" economic situation in the country.
The grand old party which is known for its traditional approach to protests sprang a surprise with what many saw as an out-of-the-box messaging by deciding to have black as the dress code for its nationwide protest against price rise, hike in GST on essential items and unemployment.
The most striking sartorial choice was by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Malikarjun Kharge, who wore a black kurta, a black turban and a white dhoti, turning heads during the Congress protest.
While the male Congress MPs were seen sporting black kurtas, shirts, scarves, and headgears, the women leaders also wore black with elan led by party chief Sonia Gandhi who wore a printed crisp saree with a black border and a black blouse.
Rahul Gandhi, who addressed the press conference at the AICC headquarters in the morning wearing a white shirt and a black armband, changed to a black shirt for the protest in the Parliament complex and a subsequent march of party leaders to Rashtrapati Bhavan during which they were stopped and detained.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wore a black salwar suit as she staged a sit-in protest outside the AICC headquarters. Amid dramatic scenes, she was forcibly put in a vehicle by the police and taken away.
Former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son and MP Karti Chidambaram sported black shirts with white 'veshtis' (type of dhoti), while Shashi Tharoor was seen in all blacks -- kurta, trouser and 'Sadri'.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress' deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi, K C Venugopal, Deepender Hooda, Naseer Hussain and Imran Pratapgarhi, among others, were also seen wearing black.
(With PTI inputs)