The Congress’ decision to go it alone in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar would help the party in the heartland, said general secretary Rahul Gandhi in Puducherry on Wednesday.
In his first public remarks on the decision to not have an alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Lok Janashakti Party in Bihar and the Samajwadi Party in UP, Gandhi said: “Fighting alone will give us space to build ourselves there.”
Gandhi’s statement confirmed a Hindustan Times report on March 20 that first said he and his mother, party president Sonia Gandhi, had inspired the Congress move to contest most of the 120 Lok Sabha seats in UP and Bihar where the party is in decline.
Reacting for the first time to his cousin and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Varun Gandhi’s comments about Muslims, Gandhi said: “My views are different. I believe anger and hatred blind us.”
Elaborating on his vision for the two states, Gandhi said: “UP and Bihar used to be the heart of where our strength used to come. And in UP and Bihar we have declined considerably.” He added that now is the time for the Congress to pitch for a comeback.
Indicating that the Congress move in Bihar was a calculated one, Gandhi asked: “Did Lalu and Paswan leave us, or did we leave them?” Gandhi said alliances are based on tactical considerations. “Where we feel that we have an alliance which is in mutual interest of both parties, that's an alliance we would work with.”