Rahul Gandhi thanks BJP, says 2014 poll defeat an eye-opener

He made the remark while campaigning in Vadodara, Gujarat where assembly elections will be held in two months.

Published: 10th October 2017 10:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th October 2017 10:20 PM   |  A+A-

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi during a road show in Padara village in Vadodara on October 10. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: For a change, Rahul Gandhi, who never loses an opportunity to target the BJP, thanked the saffron party for launching regular attacks on him and acknowledged that he had benefitted from the Congress’ stunning defeat in the 2014 national polls.
“We lost so badly in 2014 that repeated thrashings and abuses have made us wiser. The BJP really helped me,” Rahul said while noting that the party’s worst ever electoral defeat was an eye-opener for him.
He made the remark while campaigning in Vadodara, Gujarat where assembly elections will be held in two months. After ruling the centre for 10 years, the Congress was reduced to just 44 seats in the 543 member Lok Sabha in the 2014 polls down from 206 in 2009.
The remarks significantly came on a day when BJP chief Amit Shah, along with union minister Smriti Irani and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, launched a  blistering attack on the Gandhis in their stronghold Amethi.
While the Congress managers responded to the Shah’s barbs, Rahul’s comment about the RSS being anti-women stirred up a controversy and invited sharp attacks from the ruling party.
"They are not interested in women's rights. How many women are there in the RSS? Have you ever seen women in shorts working with RSS? I have never seen. You see women in the Congress all the time. In the RSS you will never see women. God knows what mistakes women have committed that they cannot be a part of RSS,” Rahul said while interacting with a group of women in Vadodara.
Union minister for textiles and information and broadcasting Smriti Irani hit back at Rahul saying his remarks were both indecent and anti-women.
"If Rahulji believes that wearing shorts in India is a sign of empowerment, as a woman I want to contradict it," said Irani, who had challenged Rahul in Amethi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
"An indecent comment has been made on our sisters connected with the Sangh, the Rashtriya Sevika Sangh or the sisters, wives and sisters-in-law of ordinary Sangh workers," she said.
Former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel asked Rahul if the women needed his permission to decide what they wear and charged that it was the Congress’ culture to watch women’s clothes. “The Congress should apologise for Rahul’s remark,” she added.


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