Ahead of the crucial Assembly elections to four States, two ruled by the Congress, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi exuded confidence of his party winning the polls and said that in the next general elections, the INDIA bloc was fighting to save the idea of India. He was speaking here on Sunday at a conclave organised by the Pratidin Media Network. Mr. Gandhi added that the ruling BJP would be in for a big surprise in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Answering a question on his party’s preparedness for the Assembly elections, Mr. Gandhi said the Congress would win the four States. “I would say, right now, we are probably winning Telangana, we are certainly winning Madhya Pradesh, we are certainly winning Chhattisgarh. Rajasthan, we are very close, and we think we will be able to win. That is what it is looking like, and by the way, that is also what the BJP internally is saying,” he said. Mr. Gandhi said welfare schemes similar to Karnataka would be announced for these States too. He said efforts were there to defeat the BJP’s move to distract people before every election.
Mr. Gandhi said there was complete unanimity among the INDIA partners that their fight was not against a political party, but for “saving the idea of India”. “The Opposition is thinking about this election in a fundamentally different way than it thought about any other election before,” the Congress leader said. He added that the Opposition believed that the idea of India was under attack, concept of India was under attack, concept of free election, concept of free speech were now under mortal threat as far as the BJP was concerned. On differences among the partners, he said that in bulk of places there were no differences and in some places where these exist, the differences were being ironed out.
Mr. Gandhi maintained that he would continue to oppose the single monopoly created by the BJP, the Adani. He said the Adani Group not only owned media, but controlled huge wealth as it had been concentrated in one gentleman. “The BJP wins elections by distracting and not allowing us to construct our narrative,” he said, and added: “Every time the Congress raised important points, the BJP would use this type of strategy to distract the Congress but we have learnt how to deal with this,” he said. The Congress leader also talked about another Bharat Jodo Yatra between east and west.
“Media is controlled”
"We are adapting in a situation where the BJP controls the media. Don't think the Opposition is not capable of adapting, we are adapting, we are working together, we are 60% of India's population. BJP is in for a surprise in 2024 (Lok Sabha polls)," he said.
During the interaction, Mr. Gandhi also talked about his recent Ladakh visit during which he toured the Union Territory on a motorcycle.
He said it allowed him to continue the Bharat Jodo format in a different way.
On his learnings from his over 4,000 km Kanyakumari to Kashmir Bharat Jodo Yatra, he said that in 21st century India, the communication architecture is so captured by the BJP that it is practically impossible to speak to the people of India through that.
"It is very clear that my YouTube channel, my Twitter, they are all suppressed. The yatra was a necessity for us. No matter what the opposition says, it does not go through without distortion in the national media," he said.
"Big learning was old school communication going and meeting people, which Mahatma Gandhi ji pioneered in the modern era, others pioneered in older times, that still works," he said.
No matter how much energy the BJP put, no matter how much the media tried to distort, it did not work, because there was a direct connection, Mr. Gandhi said.
"For every story BJP media was trying to put in there were thousands of videos coming in to counter that. It was almost like a reverse capture of the mass media," he said.
This problem is not just an Indian problem as it is being faced across the world, he argued.
"For me, personal learning was even more interesting. It is that where you think your limit lies, is nowhere your limit actually lies. Your limit is much further than you can imagine," he said.