NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi today asserted that the Congress along with other opposition parties will fight the BJP without hating it, but wondered whether he can expect the same from the rival party.
Speaking at an event here, he said the atmosphere in India from his perspective was "coloured with a lot of hatred, anger and frustration".
"You can fight someone with all your might, but hate is a choice... I may disagree with Mr (L K) Advani, I may have a completely different conception of the country from that of Mr Advani.
"And I can fight Mr Advani on every single inch, but I don't need to hate him," Gandhi said at launch of journalist Karan Thapar's book 'Devil's Advocate -- The Untold Story'.
A host of leaders like former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former vice president Hamid Ansari, senior BJP leader and former deputy prime minister Advani, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, and former Union minister Karan Singh among others were present at the event.
"Karan Singh ji has taught me a lot about our country, about our religion. There is one thing that our religion teaches us, is that you absolutely cannot get imprisoned by hatred," Gandhi said.
He said it has been his endeavour to keep hate out.
"I will take on Narendra Modi ji, all the Congress people sitting here, my friend on the left there Mr (CPI-M chief Sitaram) Yechury, we will all take on the BJP and they will fight us, but we don't need to hate them. I don't know if I can expect the same from them," Gandhi said.
He said that politicians tend to see the world as either "them or us".
"This is not my natural way, but as Advaniji or Manmohan Singhji will tell you that this is the design of our politics, it's confrontational and it's winner takes it all. But this is not how I am designed inside and I am sure this is not how many of you are designed inside," Gandhi said.
He also took a swipe at the BJP over his hugging Prime Minister Modi in Parliament, saying now the party's MPs take "two steps back" on seeing him fearing he may embrace them too.
Gandhi narrated an incident during his visit to Vietnam about 10 years ago to emphasise that one can fight someone with all might but does not need to hate.
He said he had hired a boatman to take him for a ride on the river Mekong during which the man told him that he had fought against the Americans during the Vietnam War.
The Congress president said the boatman showed him several injury marks on his body.
Gandhi said when he asked the boatman if he hated the Americans, he replied that he fought them but did not hate them.
Thapar, speaking after Gandhi, talked about many interesting interviews he conducted throughout his career, but singled out his 2007 interview with Modi that was ended by the then chief minister within two or three minutes after a few questions.
Asked why he goes to London every year during the time of New Year, Thapar said, "I am a great believer that you have to begin a year in a civilised country."
Later on, when asked what is the one question he would like to ask Advani, Thapar said he would ask whether he would wear a suit with his name printed on the stripes.