Backtracking from his stand in Udaipur, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said his party respects regional outfits and does not want to be ”the Big Daddy” while asserting that the fight against the BJP will be a ”group effort”.
During an interactive session at the ‘Ideas for India’ conference in London, he made a scathing attack on the BJP government alleging the ”deep state” in India is attacking institutions and capturing them such as the media.
Alleging that people’s voices are being stifled, Gandhi said the Congress will reach out to the masses and fight to save ‘the idea of India’.
The former Congress chief asserted his party will coordinate with regional outfits to launch a nationwide movement against the ruling dispensation and will reach out to the people in a big way.
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”We have to coordinate with our friends in the opposition. I don’t view the Congress as the ‘Big Daddy’. It is a group effort with the opposition. But it is a fight to regain India,” he said at the conclave.
A video of the event was released by the Congress on Saturday.
”The point I made in Udaipur, which was misconstrued, is that this is an ideological battle now. It is a national ideological battle, which means that of course we respect the DMK as a Tamil political organisation, but the Congress is the party that has the ideology at the national level,” Gandhi said.
So, the Congress will have to think about itself as a structure that is enabling the opposition, he said during the hour-long interaction.
”In no way is the Congress superior to the other opposition parties, we are all fighting the same battle. They have their space, we have ours, but an ideological battle is taking place is between the national vision of the RSS and that of the Congress,” Gandhi added.
Gandhi’s remarks on regional parties, which came in the presence of opposition leaders like Sitaram Yechury and Tejashvi Yadav, are in contrast to his comments at the Congress’ three-day ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur.
There he had said that it is only the Congress that can fight the BJP at the national level and regional outfits cannot fight this battle as they do not have an ideology.
Addressing Congress leaders on May 15, Gandhi had said, ”The BJP will talk about the Congress, its leaders and workers, but will not talk about regional parties. Because they know that regional parties have their place but they cannot defeat the BJP. Because they don’t have an ideology.” ”This fight of ideology is not easy. Regional parties cannot fight this battle, as this is a fight of ideology,” Gandhi also said, asserting that it is only the Congress that can fight this battle of ideologies.
His remarks drew sharp reactions from leaders of several opposition parties who hit back at Gandhi and attacked the Congress for not having a presence in many parts of the country.
In London, Gandhi launched an attack on the BJP, saying ”We are now fighting the institutional structure of the Indian state which has been captured by an organisation and the only way for the Congress is to go to the masses.” ”That’s not just for the Congress but for all opposition parties,” he said. The former Congress chief said that as far as the Udaipur conclave is concerned, the issue is how does the Congress party now go back to its roots and starts moving into the masses.
Gandhi also said the BJP has a ”100 per cent control” over media, and communication and broad control over the institutional framework. ”We will not be able to match the funds they have, we will have to think of communication and funding in a completely new way. We have to think about an organisational structure that is much closer to the masses.
”We will have to think of a large-scale mass movement on issues like unemployment, prices and on regional matters,” he said, adding the Congress will seek the support of regional parties for this.
He also alleged that the soul of India is under attack from the BJP and noted that ”a soul without a voice means nothing and what has happened is that India’s voice has been crushed”.
”It has been crushed by an ideology and by the way technology has moved. It has been crushed by the institutional framework of our country itself which is becoming parasitical.
”So, the deep state, the CBI, the ED, is now chewing the Indian state and eating it, much like in Pakistan,” he said.