'Opposition united amid clampdown on freedom': Rahul Gandhi's 2024 poll prediction
Rahul Gandhi, in US, accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government of ‘capturing the democratic institutions of India’.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, during an interaction at the National Press Club in Washington on Thursday, predicted that the outcome of the 2024 general elections will ‘surprise’ people and expressed confidence about the strength of a united opposition.
Gandhi, who is in the US for a three-city US tour, said, "I think the Congress party will do very well in the next two years…there is a hidden undercurrent building…Just do the math, a united opposition will defeat the BJP on its own.”
Referring to the Karnataka assembly elections in which Congress routed the incumbent BJP government, the 52-year-old said the upcoming state elections will signal the shift in Indian politics. Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are the Congress-ruled states that are prepping for state elections later this year.
The former Congress party president added that the opposition is building its unity in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections and dialogues are being held between all parties.
"I think quite a lot of good work is happening. It's a complicated discussion because there are spaces where we have competing also with (other) Opposition (parties). So, it's a little bit of give and take as required. But I'm confident that that will happen,” he added.
What Gandhi said about press freedom
On weakening press and religious freedom in India, Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government of ‘capturing democratic institutions of the country’ and imposing a ‘clampdown’ on the critical framework that allowed India to talk.
“One should be open to criticism. Mahatma Gandhi set up the framework to enable that negotiation fairly and freely. The structure that allows the negotiation between India's people is coming under pressure," he said.
Earlier, in his address at Stanford University, the Congress leader said the Opposition in India was struggling because, “Democracy…is about several institutions that support the Opposition. Those institutions were either captured or were not playing the role they were supposed to play."
On Lok Sabha disqualification, Gandhi said…
While claiming that his disqualification from Parliament has offered him a bigger political opportunity than he had earlier, Gandhi said that when he joined politics in 2004, he never imagined this to happen. “To be the first person to get a full sentence on defamation, to get a maximum sentence, to be disqualified from Parliament. I didn’t imagine that something like this was possible.”
The Congress leader's six day visit will also cover San Francisco, Washington DC and New York. Gandhi's US visit comes weeks before PM Modi's state visit on June 22, when he will be welcomed at the White House.
(With inputs from agencies)