Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP
Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP

New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi is quite confident and cocksure that PM Modi won’t win the LS election again. “He is not going to win. He won’t,” he quip­ped when asked in an interview on India’s future and Rahul’s politics if Modi wins again. But in case he wins? Rahul was emphatic: “He won’t. You should understand Modi is an expression of hatred, so what he does is: If there is anger in society, he crystallises that anger.

“From whatever I know about India, anger is not our attribute. It can happen temporarily but the foundation of India is built on life and compassion. Please look at any of our religions or philosophy, and you’ll see our nature is not angry. And, anger won’t give you a solution, ever.”

Rahul himself tweeted the interview titled “This election is a fight for the soul of India,” saying “here is a link to an interview I did with Sanjay K Jha of The Telegraph that appeared today.” About what gives him so much confidence Modi is vulnerable, Rahul said: “Three crore youngs­ters lost jobs in India…notebandi (demonetisa­tion) destroyed the economy. It proved to be an eco­nomic disaster and the PM does not want to accept there is a crisis.

“There has been blatant corru­ption. Rs30,000 crore is stolen and given to Anil Ambani. Ima­gine the brother (Mukesh) bailed him out from going to jail. A defence contract is given to a person who has to be kept out of jail. This speaks for his business skills.” Rahul makes it clear he is not against the corporate sector when asked about his talk against the corporate look. “It is not corporate loot. There are many corporates that are absolutely honest and do a great service for this country. It’s crony capitalism. So Anil Ambani got 30,000 crore, but he has no ability to deliver on that contract, everybody knows it. So that is just a handout.

“You can’t call that corporate; that is an insult to the word corporate. That is theft. But there are corporates in this count­ry we should be proud of, who do tremendous work for the country and historically have done so.” Neither pro-poor nor pro-rich: In reply to another question, he underlines, “I am not pro-poor or pro-rich or pro-farmer; I am just arguing for fairness. “If you”re going to be unfair to the farmers, then I will help the farmers. And by the way, if you are unfair to the corporates, I will help the corporates. Because what I react to is unfairness when someone is being treated wrongly.”

Asked if it is his commitment when he speaks for the poor and the deprived or a tactic in the fight against Modi, he shot back: “Look at my record. Modi wasn”t anywhere on the scene when we were in the government At that time, I pushed NREGA. I was in Niyamgiri fighting for the tribal land; we were in government when I was in Bhatta Parsaul, defending the farmers. I have helped them with the Rs 70,000-crore farm loan waiver.”

In reply to a question, he promised many innovative and path-breaking ideas in the Congress manifesto. “Of these, the minimum income guarantee is the biggest. This has the potential to transform India by uprooting poverty. It”s an idea on an unimaginable scale that has never been implemented anywhere in the world before.

“The idea is that no Indian should live below a certain income level. Once we decide on what this level is, the government will directly transfer money to those living below that level, so that every citizen has a minimum income.” 33% GOVT JOBS TO WOMEN: He added that “we will be passing the women”s reservation bill, reserving 33% of government jobs for women, increasing the expenditure on education to 6% of the GDP.”

On the BJP countering his stress on “Chowkidar chor hai” with a poll campaign slogan of “Main bhi chowkidar,” Rahul elaborated: “Firstly, only the rich can afford chowkidars. So the slogan is an expression of the fact that Mr Modi and the BJP are here to protect the rich. The slogan is also acceptance that our popular slogan “Chowkidar chor hai” has reasonated among the people and the BJP felt it needed to be countered.

“However, their attempt to explore the moral high grounds is utterly foolish and poorly thought out. It has fallen flat and seems very forced and hypothetical given the number of scams that so-called Chowkidars have been involved in — from Modi to Piyush Goyal, Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah and his son Jay Shah, the list of those who stand accused of looting the nation, either directly or through their friends and family, but now pose as chowkidars is very long. People will not be fooled because in their hearts every Indian knows that “Desh ka chiwkidar chor hai.”

Asked if the current Lok Sabha elections is the most important battle for post-Independent India, he quipped: “This election is not a fight for power, but for the soul of India itself. Apart from the pathetic state of the economy, the agrarian distress and the massive job crisis we are facing, our most cherished values — secularism, diversity and pluralism — are under attack.”

He referred to a systematic assault on the constitutional institutions like the Supreme Court, RBI and CBI, noting that “the CBI officers who don”t toe the RSS line, or are honest, are sacked — like the CBI chief removed in the middle of the night.” He also referred to a first ever press conference held by four Supreme Court judges to caution the public on how court processes and judgments were being manipulated.

POLL ISSUES: On the issues on which the elections will be fought, he said: “Across India, people are frustrated and angry. Mr Modi is attempting to use hyper-nationalism to divert the attention of the people. But the people India are not foolish. They can see through this game.

“There are many reasons for the anger. It starts with the big promises Mr Modi made to win the elections in 2014: Rs 15 lakh in each bank account, the creation of two crore jobs a year, the doubling of farmer incomes, 150 smart cities, etc. “These key promises remain unfulfilled while the government manipulates data and spends thousands of crores in advertising to convince India that all is well and that every Indian should be happy.”

Asked why the Congress does not have the killer instinct, passion and energy of the BJP, Rahul said: “Absolutely right when you refer to them possessing the ”killer instinct.” They do not care about democractic processes or the voice of the people, only about forming governments and grabbing power, no matter how dishonestly they acquire. “The Congress has both passion and energy, but believes in listening to the voice of the people, unlike the BJP, which has wrested power in states like Goa in a completely unethical manner.’