Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sunil Solanki has taken a swipe at the president of Congress, Sonia Gandhi, and the fact that she was born in Italy, by saying that it seems as though the opposition party is becoming influenced by Italian culture. His remark was prompted by a pledge in Congress's manifesto that the party would promote the sort of cafe culture to be found in Europe so that young people had places to meet up and go on dates.
Talking with the Sputnik, Solanki said Congress is offending the people of such a “sanskaari nagri” (cultured city) as Vadodara.
"There is no concept of dating in Indian society. Congress is making illogical promises to lure voters," Solanki said.
"The manifesto released by the Congress shows their unwillingness to shed the influence of Italian culture. But, this act of Congress has certainly offended the youth of sanskari nagri Vadodara," Solanki added.
Vadodara, the third-largest city in the western state of Gujarat, is where Narendra Modi fought his first election and won in 2014.
The Congress manifesto, released with the title "Iconic Vadodara," says if voted to power, it would develop party halls and facilities for women to organise hen parties.
It also promised ultra-modern English secondary schools in every zone of the city.
Reacting to the BJP comments, youth Congress member Malini Shah accused the governing party of a reactionary and repressive mentality while dealing with the issues of young people.
"Are cafes only found in Italy? Nowhere else… They should really come out of their regressive mindset and smell the coffee themselves," Shah told Sputnik.
While releasing the manifesto earlier this week, Vadodara Congress president Prashant Patel said that they received the suggestions from the state's youth.
"These cafes will generate employment… many couples who live in joint families have financial constraints and often cannot communicate or discuss personal issues at home… They will get a space to spend time with each other at affordable prices. What's the harm?" Patel said to reporters.