Indian Express

Rahul Gandhi calls poll surveys ‘joke’

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Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal and others during Google Hangout with Rahul Gandhi at Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh on Saturday. Kshitij Mohan Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal and others during Google Hangout with Rahul Gandhi at Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh on Saturday. Kshitij Mohan

Rahul Gandhi on Saturday rejected various poll surveys predicting a poor show by the Congress as a “joke” and said his party would win more than 200 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.

Holding his first ‘Google Hangout’ with party workers, the Congress vice-president also took a dig at the BJP on the tussle between its top leaders over candidature for the Lok Sabha seats and apparently attacked Narendra Modi saying “love has always defeated hate”.

“The question of 100 seats is a joke and you have to understand that… the entire campaign of the Opposition is to demoralise you. If you are not demoralised, we shall smash them. If you do not have a doubt in your mind, we are getting 200 plus seats. The entire game is to demoralise the Congress workers, to create doubts in their mind,” Rahul said, replying to a question on recent opinion polls projecting only around 100 seats for the Congress.

“We are now fighting a third election. They (poll surveys) always say Congress will not do well. Let us not start with the assumption that opinion polls are the law,” he said.

Banking on the UPA’s populist schemes, the Congress leader recalled the ruling coalition defeated the NDA because of its flagship programmes such as MNREGA and decisions like loan waiver, and noted this time the party was armed with even stronger welfare initiative — the Food Security Bill.

Rahul asked partymen “not to fall in the Opposition trap” and added while the Congress believes in revolution, the BJP symbolises conservationism and status quo.

“If you look at our Opposition, every single candidate is decided by one man. Their senior leaders are saying that every single candidate is decided by one man. They are heading in one direction and we are heading into entirely another direction,” he said.

To a query as to how Congress should fight the communal forces if BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Modi and his party come to power, Rahul asserted, “We are going to win the next election. Therefore, BJP coming to power, their leader coming to power is a non-question.”

In a veiled attack on Modi, he said hatred never wins the battle with love and harmony. “Love has always defeated hate. There is not a single example in history where hate has defeated law. Love has this habit of washing away hatred.”

During the hour-long interaction, Rahul faced questions on factionalism in Punjab unit of Congress. About Tamil Nadu, where Congress is isolated with no ally, he said people of the state are “tired” of the kind of politics going on there.

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