Dasuya (Hoshiarpur) : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today asserted that Bharat Jodo Yatra was building up a narrative of love and harmony against the narrative of hatred, fear and violence paddled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Addressing a press conference here today, as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul said, he had special affection for Punjab, Sikhs in particular. “India would not be India had it not been for Sikhs”, he remarked.
Rahul Gandhi made special mention about farmers and agriculture saying it will be the core issue of the party’s vision whether in the state or at the centre. He pointed out, the Congress led UPA government had launched several pro-farmers schemes.
Reiterating the agenda of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the Congress leader said, it was against hatred, fear and violence and at the same time it was against unemployment, poverty, inequality and inflation.
He also referred to recently revealed economic figures, saying, one percent people owned 40 percent of India’s wealth. Besides, he disclosed, only 21 richest people owned as much wealth as owned by 70 crore other Indians. He said it was a tragedy for the country that the inequality had risen to such a level.
Replying to a question on the demand for an apology from the party over 1984 Operation Bluestar and anti-Sikh riots, Rahul Gandhi said the issue had been clarified by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the floor of the house.
Besides, he added, the then Congress president Ms Sonia Gandhi had also clarified the party’s position and he endorsed those views. To a separate question, he added, he had special affection for the people of Punjab, particularly the Sikhs.
He said, India would not have been India had it not been for Sikhs and they are the part of the backbone of the nation.Asked why he commented to the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann that he was being dictated from Delhi, Rahul said he had told Mann that Punjab cannot be governed or dictated from Delhi.
He said, Punjabis are self-respecting and have strong self-belief and they will not allow anyone from outside to dictate terms to them.About any possibility of his cousin Varun Gandhi joining the Congress, Rahul said that he (Varun) had made a choice and chose an ideology that he (Rahul) can never accept of agreeing with.
He said, he can never visit the office of the RSS. “For that you may need to chop off my head first”, he asserted.He said he had tried to explain to Varun long ago when he had praised the RSS, telling him that he (Varun) should read about the history and ideology of the family, which has been totally opposed to what the RSS preaches and does.
He clarified that personal relationships and political ideology are different. “If I meet him I will hug him, but it is a fight about ideologies”, he added.To a question about factionalism in the Punjab Congress which cost it the 2022 elections, the Congress leader said, there may have been some differences between the leaders, but the electoral result of 2022 was because of the anti-incumbency against the party’s government.
About any possible role to be offered to detained party leader, Navjot Singh Sidhu after his release from the jail, the Congress leader said, every leader will have a role to perform.
Replying about some leaders who had left the party, Rahul said, all those who join the BJP, join it out of some pressure and have a hidden reason for it.
He said such people joined due to some hidden pressure from the CBI or ED or had corruption allegations against themselves. He said he was happy that the “riff-raff” was out and now the party exhibited dynamic energy, which was a combination of youth and experience.
Asked about BJP’s claims to win all the nine assembly elections in 2023, he said, BJP cannot afford to say anything different. But, he added, the ground reality is that people are upset with the party over inflation and unemployment. He said, it is abundantly clear that the BJP is going to lose.
Rahul was flanked by the Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, CLP leader Partap Singh Bajwa, secretary in-charge Harish Chaudhary, senior leaders Digvijay Singh, Jai Ram Ramesh, KC Venugopal and Pawan Khera.