Congress president Rahul Gandhi Friday exuded confidence that a secular formation will win the maximum number of seats in this Lok Sabha polls indicating that opposition parties will come together to form the next government and said that regional parties like TMC, SP, BSP and TDP will not support the BJP. He, however, said he will not pre-judge the verdict of the people and launched an all-out attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having lost the opportunity given by the people to take the country forward.
Refusing to spell out the opposition’s strategy ahead of the Lok Sabha poll results on May 23, Gandhi told a press conference that unlike Modi, the Congress will use the experience of veterans such as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh. He was asked what role Sonia Gandhi will play in bringing together opposition parties to form the next government, amid talks of the UPA chairperson asking its top leaders to talk to various leaders and hold a meeting with them to help form a secular alliance that could lead the next government.
“I am not going to pre-judge what the people of India will decide. The mood and vision of the people will come out on May 23… Whatever the people decide, we will do that. Whatever the mood and vision of people of India, it will be known on May 23,” he said. “I am not going to disrespect the people of this country by judging what they are going to do…,” he noted. He also attacked the Election Commission, saying its role in these polls has been “biased” and “partiality” has been shown, as it has issued orders keeping in mind Modi’s poll schedule and has not reprimanded the prime minister for his objectionable remarks made during campaigning while it has has done so for other leaders.
Gandhi said the Congress party has dismantled Modi’s ideology that has worked to “systematically close down every door to stop Narendra Modi from escaping”. He said priority number one for the Congress is to make sure that the BJP loses and the next priority is to push the Congress ideology.
Asked about the possibility of SP and BSP coming together with Congress, he said ideologically, they are on the “same page as us”. “I don’t see Mayawati ji, Mulayam Singh Yadav ji, Mamata ji, Chandrababu Naidu ji, I don’t see any of these people supporting the BJP, Narendra Modi Government,” he claimed, adding that the Congress has alliances in a number of states.”But, a secular formation is going to win the maximum number of seats,” he said. He claimed that the Congress has done its job well in playing the role of the opposition and has come out with an “A grade” as its strategy about two years ago was to systematically close every single door for Modi.
“… We did it in an organised fashion, I am proud to say that we closed 99 per cent of his doors… Actually, we closed 90 per cent of his doors and he closed 10 per cent of them for us. He helped us by being abusive towards people like Mr Naidu, by being abusive towards people who actually had worked with him in the past,” he said. He said the Congress party has done a “tremendous job” and felt pride that it fought Narendra Modi and the BJP and protected the institutions of this country from them and the RSS, saying “we have done so successfully.” He also mocked the prime minister for holding his first press conference just days before polling ends and the results are about to come, terming it as “very impressive” and unprecedented.
BJP chief Amit Shah and Modi held a press conference at the party headquarters at the same time when Gandhi addressed the media at the Congress head office. “Why did the prime minister not accept my challenge for a debate on the Rafale issue,” he asked.
To a question on BJP Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur who termed Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a “patriot”, he said, “Narendra Modi’s philosophy is that of violence and it is not the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.”
Gandhi said Modi has lost an opportunity to take forward the country. “As an opposition leader, I would have liked to see a prime minister of my country, who is moving this country forward.” He said he would have liked to see Modi actually take on the challenge of joblessness and work towards helping farmers.
“With all due respect, he lost sight of the real picture. He forgot that the Indian people had not chosen him as Prime Minister to give speeches and to tell them what he thought. They had put him in that place to do some concrete things like creating jobs, tackling unemployment, bettering farmers conditions and the economy and put Indian trajectory on a path, to give India a new vision,” he said.
Gandhi said Modi is now suddenly finding himself with “nothing to show”. “There is no work that has been done. So now he is distracting, he will probably do something tomorrow or a day after… Some event will be thought up, that will be sort of the ‘distract India event’. We will see it in next couple of hours, but India is not going to get distracted.”