By Vikram Sharma
HYDERABAD: Congress President Rahul Gandhi claims he is married! When asked about his marriage plans the 46-year-old leader quipped: “I am already married to the Congress Party.” A black belt in Japanese martial arts Aikido, the Gandhi scion spoke about his “ideological fight” with the BJP and RSS during an interaction with media editors in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Speaking on his hug with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which made headlines, he said it was warm only from his side. “Modiji was disturbed. He did not like it that much. But it’s fine, I have no animosity towards Modiji. I had not planned it (the hug),” Rahul said while also claiming that there was “no question of Modi returning as the Prime Minister after 2019”, as some of his own allies do not want him to continue.
“Allies like Shiv Sena prefer other BJP leaders compared to Modi. To become the Prime Minister, he will need 230 seats, which means winning a major chunk from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. There is no way he will get those numbers as Congress and its allies will prevent it from happening,” he claimed while responding to questions from editors.
Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to Telangana to revive the political fortunes of his party, said he is fighting an ideological battle with the BJP and RSS and defeating them is a priority.
“I will fight them and will not give them a single inch (of political space). I have no disrespect for my opposition and even the Prime Minister. I am only fighting their ideology,” Rahul said.
Neither I nor mother interfered in the functioning of UPA government: Rahul
While his regular temple visits, during the Gujarat and Karnataka elections, were widely criticised by the BJP, the Congress chief dismissed allegations that his party had adopted a “soft Hindutva” approach. He affirmed that he believed in no form of Hindutva. “I have been visiting temples, mosques and gurudwaras since 2004 (since becoming an MP), on invitation by people of different faith.”
On the ‘maha gatbandhan’ (grand alliance), Rahul said that the question of who will lead the alliance will come later. At the moment, the fight with the saffron party is going on. “All these questions about who will lead will come up after the elections.’’
When Express asked Rahul Gandhi about the accusations he made against Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao that “one family was running Telangana”, and why the same did not apply to him and the Gandhi family, he said: “Please tell me who was the last Prime Minister from my family? It was Rajiv Gandhi and that was 30 years ago.”
When reminded of BJP’s accusation that his mother and then UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was “remote controlling” Manmohan Singh government for 10 years, Rahul claimed that neither he nor his mother interfered with the functioning of the government. When reminded that it was he (Rahul) who wanted to ‘tear’ the ordinance papers that negated the Supreme Court order on convicted lawmakers, he termed it as “complete nonsense”. He claimed it was done in a “different context”.
TRS men ‘purify’ Martyrs’ Memorial
Immediately after AICC president Rahul Gandhi paid tributes at Martyrs Memorial at Gun Park, TRS leaders washed the memorial with milk. TRS MP Balka Suman, MLC Shabhipur Raju, GHMC deputy mayor Baba Fasiuddin and TRSV president Gellu Srinivas Yadav poured water on the martyrs’ memorial and cleaned it. “The Congress has a long history of killing Telangana youths. After the Congress killed the youths in police firing, the martyrs’ memorial was constructed. By paying tributes at the memorial, Rahul tarnished the memorial. That is why we have purified it,” Suman said.
By Vikram Sharma