BENGALURU: The Congress is leaving no stone unturned to get the message of the party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections across to the people. Senior party leaders went to 29 state headquarters to relaunch the document, put together by a Congress crack team headed by former FM P Chidambaram and aided by Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda.
Ace lawyer Kapil Sibal was in Bengaluru on Thursday morning, arguing the Congress case, so to speak, from the KPCC platform, contextualising the Manifesto for the Karnataka voters, as also highlighting the salient points, and the centerpiece Nyay scheme and job creation proposals. TNIE caught up with him on the sidelines of the event.
What’s your assessment of the elections — can the Congress bounce back from 44 or the Modi charisma will get the BJP/NDA a second term?
In Karnataka, the Congress-JD(S) alliance will do better than the BJP. Even if BJP/NDA gets extra seats in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, North East and Odisha — non-traditional BJP seats — they will still not cross the 220-seat mark. Our assessment, NDA won’t have the numbers on May 23, to form the government.
BJP seems to have a more gripping narrative — national security, New India, et el, as against the Congress?
Any emotive campaign which seeks to divide people is always attractive, especially when you bring in religion. If 80% of Indians are Hindus, and you bring in that emotive destructive campaign, cater to the baser human instincts, it will have its pull. But then, millions of people are concerned about bread and butter issues — livelihood. A woman working in a farm, a landless labourer, a Dalit will not be taken in by the baser appeal alone. Caste equations get predominance over everything else, in say Bihar and UP, and the BJP is against a formidable caste coalition in both the states. Narratives can be created through a few propaganda channels, by controlling the media…
Well, the Congress flashed the Yeddyurappa ‘diary’ case, alleging payoffs worth a whopping Rs 1,800 crore to BJP leaders. The figure was indeed mind-boggling, but the charge has not stuck. Also, the Supreme Court in its earlier judgments has refused to consider diary notings as admissible evidence…
I-T Chief Commissioner B R Balakrishnan held a press meet right after the Yeddyurappa diary scam was reported. He claimed the diary was forged. The government should ask him on what basis he said it was forged? The state should have sent a formal letter, seeking details, and if he says he cannot give it, we need to insist on governmental level action. The Indian Evidence Act says where original diaries are not available, a photocopy can be produced. Yeddyurappa’s original diary is not available, so a photocopy will do. If he’s unable to substantiate, what business does he have to declare it is forged?