Rahul asks Gowda to clarify his stand

Rahul asks Gowda to clarify his stand

Projecting the Karnataka Assembly elections as a fight of divergent ideologies espoused by the Congress and the RSS, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday asked former prime minister H D Deve Gowda to tell people of the state upfront whether his party JD(S) was “on this side or that side”.

Rahul, who was attacked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having allegedly “insulted” Deve Gowda with his remarks of JD(S) being a “B Team of BJP”, stuck to his guns saying he was not attacking the former PM personally but only had a simple question to the JD(S) supremo.

“The central fight in Karnataka is between the BJP’s ideology and the Congress ideology. Mr Gowda has to be clear. He has to tell the people of Karnataka. That is the extent of my question to Mr Gowda,” Rahul told DH in the first-ever interview to a media organisation after becoming Congress president in December.

“I think he (Gowda) owes it to the people of Karnataka to say upfront whether he was on this side or that side because there is a very clear line in this fight. There is no confusion,” Rahul said.

He also admitted that “mistakes” were committed during the 10-year rule of the UPA at the Centre but hastened to add that the party has done a “lot of introspection”.

To a question on the narrative being built around nationalism, Rahul said that his problem with Modi’s viewpoint — the “narrowly defined Nagpur idea of nationalism” was that it does not include the view of anybody else and “crushes” the other view.

Terming the election in Karnataka as a fight between the “voice of Karnataka versus the voice of RSS”, Rahul exuded confidence that Karnataka will not be a repeat of Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP had in 2017 scored a resounding victory because of “polarisation”.

He said the BJP will not succeed in the southern state whose “DNA is to carry all sections of people together”, something that Karnataka can show to the rest of the nation.

“Even in UP, people have realised now. There is a tremendous amount of anger against BJP among people there today,” he insisted.

Opinion polls have predicted a hung Assembly in Karnataka, with neither the Congress nor the BJP having the adequate numbers to form the government and the JD(S) emerging as the kingmaker.