New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not coming back to power and the Congress is winning the Lok Sabha polls, party chief Rahul Gandhi claimed on Thursday.
“Well, what is pretty clear is we are winning the elections. We are doing better, if you look at the numbers coming from the first four phases, the BJP is not winning the elections. That is pretty clear. It is clear as that at least our data for four stages is showing that Narendra Modi and the BJP are not coming back,” Gandhi told news channel NDTV in an interview.
On his chances of becoming the next PM, he said it was for the people to decide.
“It is up to the people of this country. No, it is not my place to say, you know, (that) I want to be a Prime Minister or I do not want to be the Prime Minister. It is a decision of the people of India and I respect the people of India.
“My philosophy is very different. I don’t stand on a stage and say ‘mere aane se pehle haathi so raha tha’. I have 100 percent faith in the wisdom of the people of this country. I believe in the wisdom of this country. Whatever the people choose I am subservient to that,” he said.
Claiming that in Uttar Pradesh, “a secular formation was going to win whether it is BSP, SP, or Congress”, he denied that his party was dividing the anti-BJP votes in the crucial state which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
“Wherever we don’t have a strong candidate, we are giving help to the BSP-SP (which are fighting in alliance). We’re saying okay, we’re going to harm the BJP. Where we have solid candidates, we are fighting for our space,” he said.
Gandhi said he had told Congress General Secretaries Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is in charge of eastern and western UP respectively, that “our primary aim is to defeat the BJP, so in places where we are not going to win, we’ll help the (SP-BSP) gathbandan”.
In UP, Congress was a threat to BSP chief Mayawati and SP President Akhilesh Yadav, he said but noted that he respected the two state leaders. “As far as I am concerned I am extremely respectful of Mayawati ji and Akhilesh Yadav ji. And I understand that there is a secular formation that is operating in the UP and it is going to crush the BJP,” he said, adding that “the SP-BSP, for strategic reasons, felt they don’t have to ally with the Congress”.
Articulating his long-term position in UP, he said he had asked Priyanka Gandhi and Scindia to build the party for the next assembly polls.
Gandhi also refuted the charge that the Congress had no national poll alliances saying the party had pacts in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar and Jammu & Kashmir and had a clear commitment to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who suddenly brought up Haryana and Punjab into the game.
“So that was not workable for us. The strategic reasons we have a party in Haryana, I have to take my party views in Haryana… You know I have gone against my party view in Delhi, and I can understand that there was a possibility of winning 7 seats in Delhi. Kejriwal ji frankly, AAP didn’t add much to us to in Haryana,” he said.
He also said the Congress had successfully conveyed the idea that Prime Minister Modi was helping the corrupt and there was “massive unemployment in the country in the country, massive farmer disenchantment and farmer suicides”.
On the slogan “chowkidar chor hai” issue, Gandhi said that he made a mistake and apologised for it before the Supreme Court.
“I made a mistake in a conversation like this, in the heat of the moment. I made a mistake, a genuine mistake where I said the Supreme Court has said this… and that is not part of the Supreme Court process yet. So I put words in the mouth of the Supreme Court and frankly that…I was wrong, so I apologised,” he said, adding that he was not wrong on the slogan though.
“But I am not apologising in the least for the slogan ‘chowkidar chor hai’… No way,” he said.
Clarifying on the matter of Priyanka Gandhi not contesting against Modi, he said it was pre-decided that she “was not going to fight from Varanasi”.