Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said there is a “massive undercurrent” against the BJP on the ground and if the opposition stands effectively with an alternative vision it will be very difficult for ruling dispensation to win the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters here, he said there is a need for the opposition parties to have “mutual respect” for each other.
He said the opposition has to present a national ideology as an alternative to people of the country which the regional outfits do not have and only the Congress has.
Gandhi noted that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a framework and a way of thinking of the Congress party on bringing people together and making them comfortable.
This is the ninth press conference of Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started on September 7.
He also claimed that the opposition parties are with the Bharat Jodo Yatra but in today’s atmosphere, they have political and other compulsions that are keeping them away from joining it. He, however, said the doors of the Yatra are open for anyone who wants a united India free of violence and hatred.
“I think if the opposition stands effectively with a vision, what I am hearing and seeing from the ground, it will be very difficult for the BJP to win. But, the opposition has to coordinate properly and the opposition has to go to the people of India with an alternative vision. Not just go to the people. But, there is a huge undercurrent against the BJP, a massive undercurrent,” he told reporters.
Gandhi asserted that one thing is important that this is no longer a tactical political fight, where some group joins and defeats the BJP as that thing is of the past.
“This is so as the entire institutional framework of the country is in the hands of one ideology and it dominates the country’s political space completely. To defeat them now, there is need for an ideology,” he said.
Noting that he respects the opposition a lot and likes opposition leaders, the Congress leader said if one looks at the Samajwadi party it does not have a national ideology.
“They do have a positioning in Uttar Pradesh and they may not come in order to defend that, but they do not have a national ideology. Samajwadi Party’s idea will not work in Kerala, Karnatak or Bihar. So there is need for a central ideological framework, which only the Congress can provide and that is our role.
“But, our role is also to make the opposition people feel comfortable and that they are respected,” he said, adding that there should be mutual respect for each other.
“The idea of Bharat Jodo is a framework. It’s a way of working. It’s a way of thinking. Of course, I am not the Congress president, and a lot of that work now the Congress president will probably do. But, it is about bringing people together and making them comfortable…respect basically,” Gandhi said on opposition unity.
Spelling out his vision, he said India should emerge as a “production nation” instead of a “rent-seeking” nation. It should have an education policy that allowed children to give wings to their imagination and look beyond careers in medicine, engineering, civil services and law, he added.
“My focus is on the idea that India should be united and that we fight hatred and anger with love, affection and harmony and we are providing an alternate vision of this country and that is what I have to focus on,” Gandhi stressed.
He also spoke about a clear foreign policy, unlike a “confused” policy pursued by the government, and greater economic equality.
Gandhi said he was in favour of large businesses as they had a central role in the economy, but the same should not be controlled by “two-three persons”.
He also said there are talks of another East-West Yatra, but this Yatra is trying to tell something and if we do something else without listening to it, “then in a way it will be insult to the voice of India”.
The former Congress president also said there are similarities in the ideologies of the opposition and there are many people like Akhilesh Yadav (SP chief ) and Mayawati (BSP chief), who want an India of love and do not want an India of hatred.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)