Modi’s low level attack on Congress is a sign that he knows he is losing the polls, says K.C. Venugopal

The PM is banking on the weapon of polarising and dividing the people of the country, says Congress general secretary (organisation); he says the Congress has conceded many seats to allies to ensure the BJP government is removed and to end the ‘anarchy of misgovernance and dictatorship’

Published - May 23, 2024 09:25 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader K. C. Venugopal says he is confident of a win for the INDIA bloc.

Congress leader K. C. Venugopal says he is confident of a win for the INDIA bloc. | Photo Credit: SHASHI SHEKHAR KASHYAP

New Delhi

Congress general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal, a key strategist of the party, said that after five phases of polling, feedback from the ground indicates that the INDIA bloc would form the government. Edited excerpts:

What is your assessment of the elections after five phases of polling?

The reports from the field are very clear that after five phases of elections, we are very comfortable to form a government. The INDIA alliance can form the government. We are very confident that we will get at least 300 seats. Whenever a phase of the elections gets over, we have reports from the ground on which are the seats we are winning and on the basis of that, we are very comfortable.

Which are the States where the Congress or the Opposition bloc is doing well?

We are winning the entire South hands down. In the northeast, our position will be better than the last time. Then Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), BJP seats are going to be considerably down. The BJP (earlier) got the most seats in the Hindi belt; in Rajasthan and Haryana, we had zero seats. In U.P., we had only one seat. That entire scenario is going to get changed.

The Congress campaign has largely focussed on livelihood issues like inflation, unemployment and the 25 guarantees. Are these powerful enough to win you the election?

You know that Rahul Gandhi ji has started the Bharat Jodo Yatra, walking more than 4,000 km. During the yatra, he interacted with a lot of people, including youngsters, women, farmers and those from all walks of life. We got an idea that presently unemployment is the most important issue. Price rise and women’s safety are among the biggest issues. Farmers’ agitation was very much going on at that time. We decided to focus on these people’s issues for electioneering. What a good experience in Karnataka and Telangana. We not only focussed on these issues but at the same time we exposed the failures of the Union government, the performance card of the Narendra Modi government in the past 10 years. They have not done much but they are trying to divide the people on religion and other issues.

A core theme of your campaign is that the BJP wants 400-plus seats to amend the Constitution and end reservation. The Prime Minister countered this by saying these many seats are needed to stop the Congress from giving away reservation only to Muslims. He also said if the INDIA bloc comes to power, they would run a bulldozer over Ram Mandir. So, it’s a very sharp attack on the Congress.

It’s not a sharp attack but a dirty attack. And that too from the level of the Prime Minister. Everybody knows the reality of this country. He is banking on only two or three weapons. It is a low level attack to divide the people of this country. But that is not working so far. People are now realising that whenever elections come, Modi ji will use these type of weapons.

And the point of changing the Constitution, do you think we have taken it just like that? Their own MPs and candidates talked about needing 400 seats to change the Constitution.

My point is that the Prime Minister is doing this low level of attack against the Congress because he is getting clear indication that he is going to lose. So, finally, there is only one agenda: Hindu-Muslim, Hindu-Muslim and polarise.

The Congress is contesting only on 328 out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. Is it over-reliance on your allies or are you under-confident of your performance?

No, actually, the Congress has sacrificed a lot. Our main motto is to reduce the number of seats of the BJP. For example, in Maharashtra, we are contesting only 16 or 17 seats out of 48. Even the party unit found it difficult to digest. But our leadership clarified that this anarchy of misgovernance, dictatorship, misusing power must end. There is no level playing field for the election now. We have to understand that the main job of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is to chase the Opposition leaders and put them in jail. The neutrality of the Election Commission has totally disappeared and they are acting like a wing of the BJP. We never expected this from a body like the EC. Therefore, the thinking in the leadership of the Congress party is that we have to remove this government for the future of this country and the future of democracy. That is why we have sacrificed so many seats and are contesting only on 328 seats.

Mr. Modi has also said that if the INDIA bloc comes to power, there will be five Prime Ministers in five years.

There are realities in this country before you like the 2004 and 2009 elections. In 2004, the Congress had less seats comparatively but Dr. Manmohan Singh became the most successful Prime Minister and he got another mandate. After the elections, we will form the government and decide our Prime Minister within 24 hours. The INDIA parties will sit together and decide its Prime Ministerial candidate. After five phases of polling, I can say that this election is an issue-based election.

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