Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Ramesh Bidhuri blatantly using communal slurs in Parliament is the kind of ploy the ruling party adopts to divert attention from matters plaguing the country, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday.

Speaking at a conclave in Delhi, Gandhi said that the real issues in India were income inequality, unemployment, casteism and price rise.

“Now, the BJP can’t contest those,” said the Wayanad MP. “So, let’s have Mr Bidhuri make a statement. Let’s get together and sort of have elections together. Let’s change the name of India’. This is all distraction. We know it, we understand it. And we are not going to let them do it.”

Bidhuri on Thursday launched a communal tirade against Bahujan Samaj Party legislator Kunwar Danish Ali by repeatedly calling him a “terrorist” in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP MP from South Delhi made the remarks during a debate on the success of India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission. “Throw this ‘mullah’ out,” Bidhuri said while shouting during the proceedings. “This mullah is a terrorist.”

On Friday, Gandhi met Ali and posted the pictures of the two sharing a hug on social media. “A shop of love in the market of hatred,” he tweeted.

The Congress leader said on Sunday that his party took a lesson from the Karnataka Assembly elections that the BJP wins elections by distracting voters from issues that matter.

“What we did in Karnataka is we gave a clear vision for the state...his is the social security programme that we are going to set up for you and then we control the narrative,” he said.

Gandhi also expressed confidence in his party’s performance in the upcoming Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram later this year.

He said that Congress was well posed to win in Telangana and was certain to bag Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In Rajasthan, Gandhi said, he expects a close contest but Congress to emerge victorious.

“That is what it is looking like, and by the way, that is also what the BJP internally is saying,” he said.