Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday brushed aside a question on whether a Congress loss in Gujarat will be a referendum on him and insisted that the election outcome will be “shocking” for the BJP.
“Gujarat will this time throw a surprising result. It will be shocking for the BJP. They are scared. BJP workers who talk to our leaders say that the Congress effectively campaigned in Gujarat and their own campaign was not so effective. Even they feel they will not be able to defend their own record,” Gandhi told CNN News18.
He avoided a reply when asked if a possible poor showing by the Congress would be considered a referendum on him as he was set to take over as party President and was also the star campaigner in the BJP-ruled state.
Gandhi sought an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his attack on his predecessor and Congress leader Manmohan Singh for alleging that the latter had conspired with Pakistanis to defeat the BJP in Gujarat.
“That was wrong. If Modiji is Prime Minister, Manmohanji was also Prime Minister. He devoted his life for the country. It is not acceptable. Frankly, he (Modi) should apologize. But that is for him to decide. What he has said is wrong.”
Gandhi said he won’t indulge in personal attacks on Modi even if the Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party do so daily.
“The BJP and Modiji indulge in aggressive attacks against me. But I don’t retaliate because I don’t mind it.”
He said the language Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar used to attack Modi was unacceptable to him and the Congress, which acted promptly by suspending the former MP.
At the same time, Gandhi hit out at Modi. “He has lost his credibility. It seems difficult that he will regain it.
“The youth had reposed their faith in Modiji. But the trust has been broken. He had promised to create two crore jobs every year. But he doesn’t speak about that now. And he doesn’t speak a word even about corruption.
“You may have noted that he didn’t utter a word when reports about (BJP President Amit Shah’s son) Jay Shah and (the French) Rafale deal came in.”
The Congress leader said the Modi government was not able to create in one full year the number of jobs China produces in two days.
“This is the challenge India faces. There are lots of distractions. Modiji speaks about a lot of things. But the main issue in India or in Gujarat is about unemployment. This is the challenge before the country and the Congress.”
Gandhi said the Congress fought the Gujarat elections — whose second and final phase will be held on Thursday — on the strength of what people in the state desired and added that the BJP was cornered on every issue.