Rahul Gandhi has no plans to get married, says he is wedded to Congress party
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Rahul Gandhi has no plans to get married, says he is wedded to Congress party

In an hour-long interaction with journalists in Hyderabad on Tuesday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the priority before him was to defeat the Narendra Modi government in the 2019 elections.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2018 23:23 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hyderabad, Hindustan Times
Rahul Gandhi,Rahul Gandhi marriage,Gandhi wedding
File photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. (PTI photo)

Congress party president Rahul Gandhi has no plans to get married at least for now, as his whole objective is to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi from power.

“I am wedded to the Congress party,” was his cryptic answer to a question as to when he was going to get married.

In an hour-long interaction with journalists in Hyderabad on Tuesday, the Congress president said the priority before him was to defeat the Narendra Modi government in the 2019 elections.

“We are talking to several like-minded parties, including those who were associated with us in the past and some new allies, to form a grand alliance to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party in the next elections,” he said.

Asked whether the Congress would follow the Karnataka experiment (where it asked its alliance partner’s chief to head the government) after the next general elections, Gandhi said: “First things first. We are coming together to defeat the BJP. Once the objective is achieved, then comes the issue of who the next Prime Minister would be. I am not thinking about it now.”

He expressed confidence that a Congress-led coalition would come to power in 2019. “I bet, it is going to happen,” he said and agreed to give an exclusive interview to a senior journalist who challenged whether he could defeat Modi.

He predicted that there was no question of Modi becoming the Prime Minister again, as several allies of the BJP, including Shiv Sena, were against him becoming PM for a second term. “Moreover, if Modi has to become the PM again, the BJP has to win 230 seats on its own for which it has to win all the seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This is next to impossible, as the Congress party alliance with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in UP and Rastriya Janata Dal in Bihar would bag majority of the Lok Sabha seats,” Gandhi insisted.

He said he had no personal differences with Modi, but differs strongly with him on ideological front and also on policy issues. “The Congress party has been fighting an ideological battle with the BJP and the RSS for several decades. It is on these ideological grounds that the Congress is forming an alliance with other like-minded parties,” he explained.

Asked how warm the hug with Modi in Parliament was, the Congress chief said he had felt the warmth, but for the Prime Minister, it was very cold. “I had done it (hugging Modi) only to show that I don’t believe in hating people. But Modi doesn’t like his political rivals. He doesn’t even give them due respect. He doesn’t listen to anybody, but wants others to listen to him,” he said.

On whether he was adopting the soft Hindutva stand to appease the majority community, Gandhi said he did not believe in any kind of Hindutva – soft or hard core. “If you are referring to my meeting religious leaders and visiting spiritual places, then I tell you I have been doing it since 2004. When I go to any state, I get invites to meet the spiritual leaders and I don’t find anything wrong in meeting them,” he explained.

Stating that the Congress was on course to win three major states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the upcoming assembly elections, Gandhi exuded confidence that it would win Telangana state as well, if not Andhra Pradesh.

First Published: Aug 14, 2018 14:31 IST