In Karnataka for the Assembly poll campaign, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday addressed a press conference and spoke vividly on a number of state and national issues. Gandhi, who doesn’t usually participate in the party’s pressers, was joined by Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah and party’s Chief Spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala. Gandhi mounted a full-frontal attack on the BJP on a number of issues pertaining to atrocities on Dalits, PM Narendra Modi’s personal attacks during election campaign, rising incidents of crime against women, unemployment, his visits to temple and the possibilities in case there is a hung assembly. In what remained the highlight of his address, Gandhi responded to Modi’s ‘speak in mother tongue’ remark in a very calm and poised manner.
Here are key takeaways from Rahul Gandhi’s press conference in Karnataka today :
‘Yes, my mother is Italian’:
Asked to respond on Modi’s challenge to speak in his mother tongue, Gandhi replied, “My mother is Italian, but she also lived a larger part of her life in India. She is more Indian than many Indians I see.” He adds: “My mother sacrificed for this country, she has suffered for it. It shows the quality of the PM when he makes these types of comments.”
On Modi’s claim that Congress may rig election:
“A man speaks what’s in his heart” Gandhi said suggesting Modi has already accepted defeat. “He is absolutely convinced now, and he is right, that he is going to lose Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and he is going to lose 2019,” Gandhi said in Bengaluru.
On personal attack against him by PM Modi:
“Mr Modi has got anger inside of him. He is angry with everybody, not only me. I am a lightning rod for anger, I attract anger. But that is his problem. It is not my problem,” Rahul Gandhi said.
BJP doesn’t understand the term ‘Hindu’:
“Throughout last 15 years, I’ve been visiting temples, mosques, gurudwaras, every religious institution I come across. BJP doesn’t like this. I don’t think they understand meaning of the term Hindu. It’s a perspective. It’s something which lives with you throughout,” Gandhi said.
Rape is a political issue:
“Yes, absolutely, rape is a political issue, should we not discuss it as politicians,” Gandhi said. “Atrocities against women is absolutely a political and a national issue. Mr Modi likes to discuss bullet train and other issues but does not like to discuss fundamental issues,” he said.
On atrocities against Dalits and Modi’s alleged silence:
“We had said that Dalits are being beaten up and oppressed when Rohith Vemula is killed Modi Ji doesn’t say a word. When Dalits are killed and humiliated in other parts of India, Modi Ji doesn’t say anything. Congress will defend the rights of Dalits and raise this issue”
Confident of winning Karnataka Elections 2018:
“I have been traveling around Karnataka for few months now, we all stood together and fought campaign on fundamental issues. We have prepared manifesto which is truly the voice of the people.Opposition has restricted itself to making personal remarks.Confident of winning the elections”