|File photo of Rahul Gandhi|
Friday, January 17, 2014
India's Congress VP Rahul Gandhi attacks BJP party
NEW DELHI (AA) - In an attempt to reinvent the image of his party after the shock defeat in recent state elections, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi bitterly attacked Narendra Modi on Friday, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, saying those who dream of a “Congress-free-India” will themselves be destroyed.
In a speech at Delhi’s Talkatora stadium, Gandhi said congress is not a party, it is an idea close to our hearts. It is an idea enshrined in India for 3000 years.”
“It is an idea of Emperor Ashoka and Mughal king Akbar. It is an idea which is enshrined in India’s holy books, an idea of mutual co-existence, an idea which has passed down to generations. Can an idea that stays in our hearts be destroyed?"
Gandhi accused right-wing BJP of stoking communal hatred across the country and appealed to like-minded people to come together in what he described as “critical juncture”.
He added that his party is fully ready to conquer the electoral battle ahead calling himself a “warrior” of the grand old party.
“There is a tough battle ahead of us. We will go into this battle as warriors with our heads held high,” he said.
Gandhi dismissed the constant call to be declared the party’s prime ministerial candidate saying, “I will do anything you want me to, I am a loyal soldier” while maintaining that the Congress traditionally does not announce its prime ministerial candidate before voting.
Gandhi promised that the party’s election manifesto won’t be a closed-door affair anymore as he wants to involve as many people as possible in defining the key issues affecting the nation.
“We have asked the youth and women, will ask Dalits, farmers, laborers and businessmen to make a manifesto accordingly,” he said.
The young Gandhi, who is seen by many as a weak and inefficient leader, was speaking at the annual meet of AICC (All India Congress Committee).
“Today Rahul has showed his fire power publicly for the first time,” a senior Congress leader told Anadolu Agency refusing to be named.
“Rahul’s message that party will be run from the grassroot level and not from the top is a clear signal to those party leaders who rest on their laurels. It is a revolutionary step to further democratise the party and identify hardworking low-key-profile leaders,” he said.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said Congress did not declare Rahul Gandhi their prime ministerial candidate because of prospect of defeat.
“It's the prospect of defeat staring in the face, which is responsible for the reluctance to announce Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate in 2014,” Jaitley wrote on Twitter.
Anadolu Agency, January 17, 2014