Rahul Gandhi on Monday said he was not “obsessed” with becoming the Prime Minister, but remained committed to transform Uttar Pradesh where people have been “fooled” for the last 22 years by successive regimes.
At a rare press conference, a combative Rahul sharply criticised BJP leader L.K. Advani on corruption in Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab or in the “coffin scam” in the Kargil war in the course of his various yatras across the country.
Answering questions on corruption, Mr. Rahul said when he proposed that the Lokpal be given Constitutional status, the opposition laughed at it. But this would happen.
Asked about his sister Priyanka’s comment yesterday that he was fit to be the Prime Minister, Mr. Rahul responded by saying that he was not “obsessed” with the post but was “obsessed with Uttar Pradesh” where he has been campaigning relentlessly during the Assembly polls.
“All the political leaders in India, all the top ones, have an obsession with prime ministership. This is not Rahul Gandhi’s obsession. I have another obsession.
“I want to correct the way we have been working in this State, I believe it is a monumental crisis not to hear to the voice of the people. I don’t have any major strengths.
“All I have is that some people in this country believe in me. Even if one per cent of the people in U.P. believe in us, that will be good for me,” he said.
Mr. Rahul said said black flags, shoe or even bullets would not deter him. “Main kisi se nahin darta (I am not afraid of anything,” he said.
Making a strong pitch for Constitutional status for Lokpal, he blamed the opposition for disallowing the passage of the key legislation.
Noting that there is a “beauty” in the design of the Election Commission which has Constitutional status, Mr. Rahul said, “let us make a Lokpal bill along the same lines. Let us make a Lokpal Bill which allows independence, which gives independence and power to Lokpal.”
Attacking the opposition, he said, “Mr. Advani and other opposition leaders laughed at me. I saw them with my own eyes sitting there and laughing. This idea is a fundamental, powerful idea of this country and they laughed. You ask them why they did not pass the Lokpal.”
Holding that the opposition leader described it as Mr. Rahul’s idea, he said this is infact “India’s idea”. The Congress leader asserted it was going to happen whether the opposition liked it to happen.
Attacking Advani over his yatra, he said the BJP leader overlooked corruption in BJP-ruled states. “Whenever there has been a problem of corruption in Congress party, any place, any time, we will take action. We have put ministers in jail.”
He also alleged that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is currently fighting to stop appointing a Lokayukta in his state.