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'Idea, Image Of Modi Destroyed': Seven Highlights From Rahul Gandhi's Interview To Financial Times

Swarajya Staff

Jun 18, 2024, 03:37 PM | Updated 04:58 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
  • Rahul Gandhi describes BJP's loss of majority as a "tectonic shift" in Indian politics.
  • Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has claimed that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will struggle to maintain its hold on power after losing its majority for the first time since PM Modi took office in 2014.

    In his first interview since the election to the Financial Times, Gandhi described the outcome as a “tectonic shift” in Indian politics.

    He highlighted the fragile nature of Modi’s coalition, which now relies heavily on smaller allied parties, making it the weakest it has been in a decade.

    Here's are the key highlights of Rahul Gandhi's FT interview:

    1. Political Shift

    Gandhi noted the significant changes in the Indian political system after the Lok Sabha election results, stating, “A tectonic shift has taken place in Indian politics.”

    He believes this shift has opened up new spaces within the Indian political framework.

    2. Coalition Stability

    Gandhi expressed doubts about the stability of PM Modi’s coalition government, saying, “The numbers are such that they are very fragile, and the smallest disturbance can drop the government.”

    Gandhi suggested that the BJP's reliance on its allies makes the government vulnerable.

    “Basically one ally has to turn the other way," said the Congress leader.

    Gandhi's statement comes as his party, Congress, had to forge a multi-party alliance to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP, which, despite reduced numbers and falling short of majority mark of 272, emerged as the single largest party with 240 seats in the Lok Sabha.

    BJP-led NDA emerged as the larger coalition with over 290 seats while the INDI Alliance, of which Congress was a part, managed to win 234 seats. Congress improved its tally from the last election but won just 99 seats.

    3. 'Discontent' Within BJP

    Gandhi also claimed that there was “great discontent” going on within BJP.

    He added that there were “people who are in touch with us” from within BJP, although he declined to provide specifics.

    4. Religious Tensions and Voter Response

    Addressing Modi’s campaign strategy, Gandhi criticised the use of religious tensions, remarking, “The idea that you can spread hatred, you can spread anger and you can reap benefits of that — the Indian people have rejected it in this election.”

    The INDI Alliance, however, won votes among Dalits by playing on fears the BJP would use a bigger majority to amend the constitution and deprive them of reservation benefits.

    5. Opposition's Electoral Performance and His Yatras

    Gandhi claimed that under fairer conditions, the opposition INDIA alliance would have secured a majority.

    “We fought with our hands tied behind our back... and Indian people, poor people, knew exactly what they had to do," Gandhi said.

    On his two Yatras across the country, Gandhi said, “The judicial system, the media, the institutional framework — all were shut [for the opposition], and so we decided we have to literally, physically go do it".

    “A lot of the ideas that succeeded in this election came from that walk — and they came not from us but from the people of India," he added.

    6. Modi's Campaign Tactics

    He pointed out PM Modi’s use of religious symbolism in his campaign, particularly in the Faizabad constituency, noting, “The party that spent the last 10 years talking about Ayodhya has been wiped out in Ayodhya.”

    7. BJP's Future Prospects

    Reflecting on the election results, Gandhi claimed the ruling party had been “fatally wounded” by voters’ verdict.

    “The idea of Mr Modi and the image of Mr Modi has been destroyed," Gandhi said.

    “Essentially what has happened is that the basic architecture of BJP — the idea of creating religious hatred — that has collapsed," he added.

    Also Read: India’s Economic Outlook Brightens: Fitch Ratings Raises FY25 GDP Growth Forecast To 7.2 Per Cent

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