Congress made LS polls about 'rich vs poor', BJP set to 'lose drastically' in UP, Bihar: Venugopal

K C Venugopal
K C Venugopal

New Delhi | The mood of the country indicates it wants a change and the INDIA bloc will get a good enough number of seats that will ensure it gets a clear-cut mandate and forms a government, senior Congress leader K C Venugopal said on Thursday.

In a wide-ranging interview with the PTI, the Congress general secretary, Organisation, said that the Congress treated this Lok Sabha election as "poor versus rich," while noting that the BJP's tally in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra "will come down drastically."

He also asserted that there was no wave for the BJP or Prime Minister Narendra Modi this time on the ground.

The Congress leader said that once the numbers come in their favour, the INDIA parties will decide on their prime ministerial candidate "without any delay" with consultations.

Venugopal also hit out at the Election Commission, alleging that a "lack of transparency" has been witnessed throughout the election on the part of the poll watchdog.

He said the EC has to be a neutral player, a referee, for it to be able to conduct free and fair polls.

Venugopal alleged that the ruling BJP created a narrative for polarisation and creating divisions in society.

"The BJP's attitude was totally dictatorial in this election. The Congress party took a strong decision to focus on people's issues and that this election should be fought on people's issues... we treated this election as 'poor versus rich'," he told PTI.

"Wherever we are going, we are getting the pulse that the change of mood is there in favour of INDIA bloc. We did not see any wave in favour of the BJP or Narendra Modi," he said.

"Therefore, their (BJP's) seats will go drastically down in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. We are expecting good results from Assam also. These are the states where the BJP got maximum seats, but there is going to be a decrease in seats for the BJP.

"Our ground reports are very comfortable. We are winning a good number of seats, which will give us a clear-cut mandate on forming a government," Venugopal asserted.

He said the Congress stuck with its narrative of "rich versus poor" despite attempts by the BJP leaders to throw it off its stride.

"This type of polarising campaign by BJP had a negative impact," he said.

Venugopal claimed that all those states where the BJP had scored maximum in the 2019 election, including Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh, its number will go down this time.

"Maharashtra is totally in a changing mood. Karnataka, they got maximum, but it is also in a changing mood. Haryana, Rajasthan where we were zero, but the people are in a changing mood now. In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also, there is a change seen on the ground," he said.

On the PM face of the bloc, he said, "We will decide our prime ministerial candidate without any delay and without any problem."

Despite being the largest pan-India party, the Congress will not take any unilateral decision on this, he emphasised.

Venugopal criticised the BJP over its campaign alleging it was completely marked by talks of religion and attempts to drive a communal rift.

"This level has come from the Prime Minister himself, to build that narrative that this election is for polarisation. They did not create a level playing field for the opposition also," he said, even as he raised the matter of jailing of several opposition leaders and freezing of party accounts.

Venugopal rubbished Modi's claim that the Congress will give reservation to Muslims.

In every speech, Congress president and Rahul Gandhi said that the reservation is for SC, ST, OBC and poor people, it was the BJP candidates and its leaders who talked about the change of Constitution and a brute majority of 400-plus seats, he said.

"Everybody can read it out. Their own people are saying 'we need to change the Constitution,'" he said.

On doubts over voter data, he said, there has been a "lack of transparency ... throughout the election campaign. We were expecting a clear level-playing field for the government and the opposition. In elections, everybody is equal. But we are not experiencing that through the actions of the Election Commission."

Venugopal said the alliance is asking its election agents to collect 17-C forms across the country and so that they can get an idea about the voters data.

"We need to be extra careful about the counting procedure," he said.

On whether it would be a difficult political decision for Rahul Gandhi to decide which seat to quit, in case he wins both seats, he said, "In politics, every decision is not going to be quite easy... we will have a decision after the election results without hurting anybody's sentiments. Party will take a final call on that."

Asked about Modi's predicting a "political earthquake" after June 4, Venguopal dismissed it as one of the many "things" the Prime Minister says.

"The PM is saying Mahatma Gandhi is known by people only after seeing the film. Is it true? In my view, it is not true.

"The Prime Minister is saying that Mahatma Gandhi was known only after Gandhi's film is a total lie. That way, 15 per cent reservation going to Muslims is also a total lie," he said.

On the PM's pitch against corruption, Venugopal said that for Modi, corruption is only ever committed by opposition parties.

"This is the only agenda which has been demonstrated throughout the election campaign," he alleged.

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