Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress President Rahul Gandhi made it clear on Tuesday that he was not wedded to Hindutva - "soft or hardcore". In an interaction with editors, Gandhi did not agree that he was embracing soft Hindutva to appease the majority community.
"I don't believe in any kind of Hindutva, soft or hardcore," he said.
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Gandhi said there was nothing wrong in his meeting religious leaders and visiting religious places. His differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he insisted, were ideological and not personal.
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Gandhi, on a two-day visit to Hyderabad, predicted that Narendra Modi would not become Prime Minister in 2019.
He said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would not even get 230 Lok Sabha seats and hence there was no question of Modi continuing in office again. The BJP tally would be cut primarily due to the alliance among non-BJP parties in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
He also pointed out that several allies of the BJP, including Shiv Sena, were against Modi becoming the Prime Minister for a second term.
The Congress President said the party was working with like-minded parties to form a grand alliance to defeat the BJP.
He was confident that a Congress-led alliance would form the next government at the Centre.
He evaded a direct reply to a question on who would be the Prime Minister in the event of Congress and other non-BJP parties getting a majority. He merely said they would work it out.
He was also non-committal on whether the Congress would repeat the Karnataka formula, where it accepted the leader of a party with fewer seats as the Chief Minister to prevent the BJP from taking power.
Asked about his hug to Modi in Parliament, Gandhi said it was intended to show that he doesn't hate people.
He, however, said the Prime Minister was cold in his response. He alleged that Modi doesn't give due respect to political rivals.
He voiced concern over growing intolerance in the country. He said that minorities were feeling insecure.
Gandhi said the party's state units were free to have alliances with like-minded parties. He was confident that the Congress would come to power in Telangana.
Asked about Andhra Pradesh, where Congress drew a blank in the 2014 polls, he said the party was improving its position.
He said Modi had failed to implement his promise of providing two crore jobs annually.
"China provides employment to 50,000 people in 24 hours while in India only 458 people get employment during this duration," he said.
In a lighter vein, Gandhi remarked that he was wedded to the Congress.
"I am wedded to Congress," he said when he was asked about his marriage plans.