NEW DELHI: All is not lost for the Opposition unity ahead of the 2019 general election, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said in his first reaction to BSP supremo Mayawati’s snub of going alone in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Rahul, who is being projected by the Congress’ prime ministerial nominee, said the opposition parties have to defeat the BJP-led NDA together and then decide the PM candidate. “But if alliance partners wanted me, I will become the PM,” he said at an event.
Mayawati has announced a pre-poll alliance with Congress-rebel Ajit Jogi’s Chhattisgarh Janata Congress. But, Rahul sounded confident of doing well in the polls. “I don’t think that Mayawati’s decision not to have an alliance with the Congress in MP will impact us.”
Noting that pacts for state polls and alliances for the national elections were two separate issues, Rahul hoped Opposition parties would come together, particularly in UP where he is pushing for a BSP-SP-Congress-RLD alliance to take on the BJP.
Rahul took a question on ‘soft Hindutva’, saying he had been visiting temples in the past. “I’ve been going to temples, gurdwaras, mosques for the last 16 years...The BJP feels that only they can go to temples,” he said, adding his fight with the BJP was ideological.
Rahul said his leadership style was different from his mother’s functioning. “She (Sonia) told me that she goes on gut feeling, and I go on thinking,” he said, and pointed that leadership evolves with time. “I am going much more into listening to people and understand what is it that they are trying to do.”
“She has taught me patience. I used to be much more impatient... Sometimes I tell her she is too patient.”
Regarding the Centre’s economic policies over demonetization and a flawed GST, Rahul said the Congress had hit the streets to protest against the government.
“The Indian government has gone to war with its own people because it wants to impose one imagination on 1.3 billion of us. It wants to impose one singular, suffocating memory on our 1.3 billion memories,” he said.