Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi "thinks" his party will defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha polls in a few months, but he "will take responsibility" if it fails.
From his perceived reluctance to be the Congress prime ministerial face and directly taking on BJP nominee Narendra Modi to the Aam Aadmi Party, Gandhi fielded questions in "a broader fashion" while willing to be "specific" in an interview with news channel Times Now.
"… there is absolutely nothing I am scared of," he said to a query on avoiding a face-off with Modi, adding he fundamentally disagreed with the BJP’s belief in concentrating power in the hands of one person.
"I believe in democracy, I believe in opening up the system. I believe in the RTI, I believe in giving power to our people. We have fundamentally different philosophies."
On surveys giving the Congress little chance in the Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi said, "This country has always been run and successfully when large numbers of people are involved in the decision making. Historically, when you look at when this country has done well, it has done well when we have involved people."
Asked about the taint of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots (which erupted after his grandmother and then PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination), he admitted some "Congressmen were probably involved" and "some Congressmen have been punished for it".
Asked if he felt he needed to apologise for the 1984 riots, Gandhi said, "First of all I wasn't involved in the riots at all. It wasn't that I was part of it." Prodded if he would do it on behalf of the Congress, he replied, "I think that riots, as all riots, were a horrible event. Frankly I was not in operation in the Congress party."
Amid linking of anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots, when Modi was chief minister, Gandhi said, "The difference between the 1984 riots and the riots in Gujarat was that in 1984 the Government was trying to stop the riots… In Gujarat, the opposite was the case. The Government in Gujarat was actually abetting and pushing the riots further."
Pressed, he added, "I mean, people saw it. I am not the person who saw it, your colleague saw it. Your colleagues told me."
Asked if he would not be compromising the fight against corruption by tying up with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, headed by fodder-scam tainted Lalu Prasad, in Bihar, Gandhi said, "These decisions of the Congress party are made by senior leaders."
Told that he was the boss, Gandhi replied, "Our alliance in Bihar is with a political party, with an idea not an individual, we are making alliance, and it is not certain that we are going to make an alliance, we are in process of talking to people and our alliance is with an idea, with a party, not an individual."
Talking about the AAP, he said, "What I liked about what I saw in the Aam Aadmi Party was people coming into their system… But what’s different between us and them is that we have structure. We develop processes. That I didn’t see much of."
Asked if he would have been in politics "had he not been a Gandhi", the Congress leader said, "If you look at my spirit, regardless of what I do, if I'd been born in India, regardless of what I do, I don't like unfairness. It just makes my blood boil. I don't like it. And in whatever I did, if I saw unfairness, I would stand up Against it. That's the heart of my politics."
Gandhi said he would not fight a superficial battle, but keep his eye on only one thing: changing the system. To make his point he invoked Arjun’s single-minded focus on the eye of the fish in Mahabharat.
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