What is more, there will be an unsavoury twist to the case with less than comforting implications for the BJP if the Congress's crown prince carries out his threat of courting imprisonment. Even if the ruling party dubs such an act as theatrical, it will be aware that the sight of Rahul Gandhi behind bars cannot but be embarrassing for the BJP.

Such a dramatic turn of events may fuel speculation that the absence of a sound legal defence has compelled the Congress to turn the encounter into a political duel. But such tricks of the trade are an acceptable part of democratic politics.

For the BJP, the immediate problem will be the future of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill since the Congress is bound to use the charge of being a victim of political vendetta to stall parliament. It is a provocative tactic which seemingly suits Rahul Gandhi's post-sabbatical belligerence which is increasingly resembling his late uncle Sanjay Gandhi's confrontational brand of politics.

If the fate of the GST Bill is sealed for the time being, the BJP may wonder whether the penchant of the maverick in its ranks, Subramanian Swamy, to involve his adversaries in court cases may have backfired.The BJP may argue that Swamy has been acting on his own in pursuing the National Herald case and that it is mean-minded of the Congress to mix up the GST Bill with its own legal difficulties in a Goebbelsian manoeuvre, as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.

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