Taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said Narendra Modi was favouring a few industrialists in Gujarat that resulted in concentration of wealth among them.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi are showered with flower petals by supporters before Rahul filed his nomination for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Amethi. (AFP photo)
“This is dangerous for the country. I keep fighting against such mindset," he said in an interview with TV channel Aajtak without naming any industrial house. He had recently attacked the Adani industrial group, perceived close to Modi. Gandhi also said Modi was using divisive tactics for political gains.
While differentiating between the BJP's “corporate vote base” and the Congress' vote bank of the poor, Gandhi slammed Modi's economic model. "In Gujarat, one man, whose net worth, 10 years ago, was Rs. 3,000 crore is today worth Rs. 40,000 crore".
However, the Congress vice-president, who filed his nomination papers from the Amethi Lok Sabha seat on Saturday, said he was not interested in personal attacks on anyone. “The fight (between Gandhi and Modi) has not become personal. Narendra Modi is a personality whose personal issues I'm not interested in. My fight is against his ideology,” he stressed.
In his campaign, the Gujarat chief minister has regularly referred to Gandhi as “shehzaada” and targeted his brother-in-law Robert Vadra. Gandhi, who launched his campaign only talking about the UPA's achievement, later shifted gears to take on Modi.
While he admitted the BJP had marketing skills and the UPA government was facing some anti-incumbency, Gandhi said the Congress-led UPA "should get a majority".
On being asked why the Congress was using the support of Samajwadi Party, whose leaders recently made controversial remarks, Gandhi said his party was fighting such forces and there was no room for thoughts of extreme nature in the country.
He also clarified the back-and-forth over the Congress candidate from Vadodara earlier, saying the previous nominee from the Gujarat seat backed out after Modi’s entry there as he wanted to give the party a chance to strategise the “prestigious fight”.
Gandhi also praised the system of conducting ‘primaries’ for choosing the Congress’ Lok Sabha candidates, saying the new scheme let people have a say in the selection of the nominees from their region.
Speaking extensively on the economic front, Gandhi said, “If we are tolerant and work with everyone, I guarantee we will leave China behind in the next five-six years.”