New Delhi Unfazed by Mayawati’s snub, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday exuded confidence that it will not dent his party’s chances in the Assembly elections. He also talked of an alliance with the BSP in the next year’s Lok sabha polls and expressed his willingness to become the Prime Minister, if allies want it.
Delivering the keynote address and participating in an interactive session at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Gandhi also tore into the Modi government for “waging war on Indians” and imposing a “suffocating ideology” on them.
Talking about BSP supremo Mayawati on Wednesday ruling out any alliance with the Congress for the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, Gandhi opined that it won’t affect his party’s fortunes in the two states and exuded confidence of stitching up a tie-up with the BSP for 2019.
“Alliance in the states and alliance at the Centre are two different things and Mayawati has sort of indicated that. In the national elections, the parties (BSP, Congress) will come together. That is the indication we have,” he said.
The Congress President also apparently corroborated Mayawati’s assertions that certain party leaders were “adamant” in their stance severing the tie.
“We were flexible in the states (about seat sharing). In fact I was more flexible than some of our state leaders. We were amidst talks when they (BSP) decided to go their own way.
After tying up with Ajit Jogi’s Janta Congress for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, Mayawati on Wednesday dealt the Congress a severe blow by ruling out any tie-up with the party in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
While praising Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati on Wednesday targeted Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders, particularly, former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh for “sabotaging” the BSP-Congress alliance.
Gandhi also said that the Congress will win “lots” of seats in the 2019 Lok sabha polls and expressed his willingness to be the Prime Minister.
“If they (allies) want me, I will surely want to be the Prime Minister,” replied Gandhi when asked about his remarks in the run-up to the Karnataka Assembly elections when he had expressed his willingness to be the Prime Minister.
Going on the offensive against Modi, Gandhi blamed the BJP for thousands of farm suicides, “decimation” of the economy and “jamming shut” the country’s banking system.
“It wants to impose one singular suffocating memory on our 1.3 billion people,” said Gandhi in his scathing attack adding “rupee is on its knees, petrol is at an all-time high, the stock market is imploding, 12 lakh crore in NPAs and unemployment is at a 20-year high.
“Reimagining India for the BJP and RSS is to shut the imaginations of Indians. Institutions are attacked, Supreme Court judges are compelled to go public because they feel intimidated,” he said.
He said the Modi regime has a sense of “monopoly” over everything it deals with and does not believe in having any form of conversation.
Flaying the “ridiculous” demonetisation and holding the complex multilayered GST responsible for wiping out millions of small businesses, Gandhi said his attempts at making conversation with the government have always been shunned.
Had these conversations not “snubbed at” and taken place, the GST (Goods and Services Tax) could have been better implemented and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir might not deteriorated, he said.
“The people in charge are convinced that they have a monopoly on knowledge, convinced that they are the only ones who understand. “What is a country if it isn’t a multitude of opinions,” he said.
He also recited lines from Rabindranath Tagore’s “Where the mind is Without Fear”, and called upon people to reimagine an India where all Indians were free and are not discriminated against.