Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took potshots at the BJP, insisting the saffron party will not win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi might lose his Varanasi seat under a united opposition. “Frankly, I don’t see the BJP winning the next election, so in 2019 we will go back to the normal, I sense,” Gandhi said during an informal media interaction in Bengaluru.
“…because there are two basic things, once opposition unity goes above a certain level, it becomes impossible to win elections. Now the opposition unity has gone to a point. It’s simple,” the Congress chief elaborated.
Gandhi also exuded his confidence over roping in and managing alliance partners despite their varied personal and regional aspirations. He also predicted for the current ruling dispensation, a “collapse” not “seen in many years.”
He was on the sixth leg of campaigning as part of the ‘Janashirvada Yatra’ ahead of the May 12 polls in Karnataka.
Terming as “funny” the BJP’s confidence of breaking the opposition alliance in Uttar Prdesh and claiming that he understands UP politics, Gandhi said when the three parties (SP, BSP and Congress) come together, “BJP will win only two seats, that too with luck.”
He said even Modi may lose if he stands from Varanasi and the three parties were united against him. “In fact, I challenge him to stand with three parties united,” he added.
In the recently-held Uttar Pradesh bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the BSP and the SP had joined forces and went on to hand a resounding defeat to the BJP in both the seats, vacated respectively by Uttar Pradesh chief minister and deputy chief minister.
Ruling out the emergence on any third Front before the general elections while responding to a question over the forging of opposition unity, the Congress leader said, “We will manage it. We in the Congress know how to carry people, we are not egotistical people, we don’t crush people and we don’t destroy people’s lives, so we will manage it.”
Attacking the government over its failure in the past four years, Rahul Gandhi stated a lot could have been achieved as PM Modi had a ‘very good’ opportunity after winning the 2014 elections. He made it clear that if voted to power again the first priority of Congress would be to get the country out of the “mess that Mr Modi and RSS has put it in.”
Taking potshots at RSS, the Congress leader accused it of generating anger and hatred in the society. The leader said, “The natural sort of political environment where there is a little bit of acrimony, but not hatred, needs to be restored.”
Gandhi started his second day of campaigning by meeting a group of sanitary workers at Jakkarayana Kere. Interacting with the workers, Gandhi said if his party comes to power at Centre, it will learn from the current Karnataka government on how to reward sanitation workers. State CM Siddaramaiah, who was accompanied with Bengaluru Mayor R Sampath Raj, informed Gandhi about the termination of hiring by sanitation contractors, adding that the salaries of the workers have been upgraded from Rs 7,500 to Rs 18,000.
Hailing the CM for taking such a strong step towards the betterment of sanitation workers, Gandhi said, “Now, when we get the government in Delhi, we will learn from the Karnataka government because the person doing the most difficult work should be rewarded the most. The problem in India is that the person doing the most difficult work is not rewarded and the person doing the easiest work is rewarded. That is what the Congress party wants to change.”
Gandhi also pointed out that the only way a government can instill faith among the youth is by providing employment opportunities. The leader said, “The only way for the government to instill faith in it among youngsters is to create jobs by competing with China, which will be India’s competitor for the next 30 years.”
Speaking on combating corruption, the leader said that Congress when back in power will insist on a one-layer (GST). Slamming the new tax regime, Gandhi said, “Experts have said the most complex tax regime in the world is GST in India. So we will transform the current GST, which I call Gabbar Singh Tax, into a simple GST by having one layer, which includes petroleum products.”
The leader also slammed PM Modi’s dream bullet train project and claimed it was just a showpiece and poorly conceptualised. He said that India will have to pay hugely due to PM Modi’s landmark November 8 demonetisation decision.
With PTI inputs