‘Congress not Big Daddy’: Rahul Gandhi backtracks from stand on regional parties as allies bristle

Rahul Gandhi’s remarks at the Congress’ ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur that regional parties cannot fight the BJP-RSS as they lack ideology had upset some of the regional allies. 

Rahul Gandhi's remarks at the Congress’ ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur that regional parties cannot fight the BJP-RSS as they lack ideology had upset some of the regional allies. 

Facing backlash from allies over his recent remarks on the regional parties, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi backtracked from his stand, saying that the Grand Old Party respects regional outfits and does not want to be the Big Daddy while asserting that the fight against the BJP will be a “group effort”. 

“The point I made in Udaipur, which was misconstrued, is that it is an ideological battle now. This means that of course we respect (ally) the DMK as a Tamil political organisation, but the Congress is the party that has the ideology at the national level,” Gandhi said on Friday at the ‘Ideas for India’ conference in London.

The Wayanad MP further said, “We have to coordinate with our friends in the opposition. I don’t view the Congress as the ‘big daddy.’ It is a group effort with the opposition. But it is a fight to regain India.”

The former Congress president also said that regional parties have their own space, and the Congress has its own. “However, the ideological battle is taking place between the national vision of the RSS and that of the Congress.”

His remarks at the Congress’ ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur that regional parties cannot fight the BJP-RSS as they lack ideology had upset some of the regional allies. 

Party’s Bihar ally RJD had asked Gandhi to look at recent electoral history of regional parties putting up a strong fight against the BJP as it took a swipe at him for his critical comments aimed at them, saying the Congress leader’s claims were “bizarre” and not in sync with his own party’s stand.

Another ally of the Congress — the JMM in Jharkhand — also pointed out that it is the Congress that is dependent on regional parties for survival in the states. 

JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy derided the Congress, saying the party has developed a “phobia” of regional parties. Rahul Gandhi, he said, should remember that the Congress ruled at the Centre for 10 years only with the help of regional parties.

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