Friday onwards, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders ramped up an offensive against Rahul and his party, ironically calling them communal and stridently demanding explanations. First off the block was defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who wondered, sarcastically, whether the Congress was a Muslim-dhari party. The next day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at a public meeting, raised a similar question. "Was the Congress a party of Muslim men only?" he asked, referring to the meeting and accusing Congress of favouring triple talaq.
On Monday, Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar accused the Congress of being a communal party and said that its divisive politics and appeasement of the minorities damaged the country.
On Tuesday, 17 July, Rahul issued a statement in which he said that he was with the last person in the line, the exploited, the marginalised and the persecuted. This was the statement Patra had responded to. No BJP leader responded to the rebuttal (of their claims) by some of those present at the meeting. The reporter who had filed the story also clarified that Rahul’s statement had been nuanced. He confirmed that the Congress president had said his party was one of Muslims because they had been weakened and had become another version of Dalits. This clarification was lost in the din of shrill accusations.