Sunday, Mar 03, 2024 | Last Update : 12:48 AM IST

  India   All India  18 May 2019  SP, BSP and TDP won’t back BJP, declares Rahul Gandhi

SP, BSP and TDP won’t back BJP, declares Rahul Gandhi

THE ASIAN AGE. | SREEPARNA CHAKRABARTY
Published : May 18, 2019, 4:27 am IST
Updated : May 18, 2019, 7:09 am IST

Modi keeps on hiding his knowledge and does not hold any press conference whereas I keep on talking to media every other day,” Rahul said.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference on the last day of election campaign in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: G.N. Jha)
 Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference on the last day of election campaign in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: G.N. Jha)

New Delhi: Pitting himself as a direct challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday asserted that regional parties such as the SP, the BSP and the TDP will not support the BJP and Opposition parties will get together to form the next government.

As loudspeakers fell silent on the final day of campaigning of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls, Mr Gandhi refused to spell out the Opposition’s strategy ahead of the Lok Sabha poll results on May 23 but said unlike Mr Modi, the Congress will take the experience of veterans such as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Questioned on the possibility of the Congress conceding the Prime Minister’s chair in case an Opposition alliance gets the required numbers, Mr Gandhi said any such call can be taken only after the results are out on May 23.

He made it clear that there would be no talks with any political party for an Opposition alliance before the results on May 23. “The public will take a decision on May 23. On that basis we will work. Before May 23, we will not do anything,” he said.

“We are not reaching out to any party till the numbers are on the table,” he said.

Taking a jibe at the Prime Minister for refusing to take questions at his much hyped “media interaction”, held jointly with BJP president Amit Shah, Mr Gandhi mocked Mr Modi saying “showing up is half the battle”.

“Congratulations Modi Ji. Excellent Press Conference! Showing up is half the battle. Next time Mr Shah may even allow you to answer a couple of questions. Well done,” Mr Gandhi tweeted.

The Congress president said it was “very impressive” to see the Prime Minister address his first press conference a few days before the Lok Sabha election results are out. “The PM’s first press conference is coming 4-5 days before the election results. The PM is accompanying Amit Shah in the press briefing. It is unprecedented. Very good. I am told the doors have also been shut, as journalists who want to ask questions have been blocked. It is a great press conference,” he told the media.

“Modi keeps on hiding his knowledge and does not hold any press conference whereas I keep on talking to media every other day,” he said.

Mr Gandhi questioned why the Prime Minister had not engaged in a debate with him on Rafale jet deal even as he claimed that his party had managed to “dismantle” the “idea of Modi” over the last five years.

“I want to ask the Prime Minister why he did not hold a debate on the Rafale issue? I was ready to come to Race Course Road to hold a debate with Mr Modi,” he said.

The Congress president said that over the last two years his party’s strategy has been to “systematically close down every door to stop Narendra Modi from escaping”.

“We closed 90 per cent of the doors (for Modi), he closed 10 per cent for himself by abusing opponents,” he said.

He claimed that the Congress has managed to dismantle the idea of Narendra Modi in the past five years.

Mr Gandhi also alleged that the Election Commission’s role in these polls has been “biased” and it has issued orders keeping in mind Mr Modi’s schedule.

The Congress president also ridiculed the Prime Minister over his reported remarks in an interview that he felt the cloud cover would help IAF fighter jets evade Pakistani radars during Balakot airstrikes.

Mr Gandhi also accused Mr Modi of not fulfilling his poll promises of “depositing `15 lakh” in bank account of each citizen and providing jobs to two crore youth every year.

Earlier in the day, he addressed an election meeting in Solan and raised the Rafale deal issue. “I am ready to engage in debate with Modi on corruption at any place,” he said.

“Give me 15 minutes, I will ask only four questions. And Modi may take three-four hours to answer. He will not be able to show his face to citizens of the country after the debate,” he added.

Keep yourself updated on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 with our round-the-clock coverage -- breaking news, updates, analysis et al. Happy reading.

Tags: rahul gandhi, 2019 lok sabha polls, 2019 lok sabha elections
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi