My mom more Indian than many: Rahul Gandhi

My mom more Indian than many: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi during the press meet in Bengaluru. ANI Photo

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of indulging in diversionary tactics by raking up his Italian ancestry.

“My mother (Sonia Gandhi) is Italian. She’s also lived a large part of her life in India. She’s more Indian than many, many Indian people I see. My mother has sacrificed and suffered for this country,” Rahul told a press conference. The BJP had brought up the Italian origin of Sonia, the UPA chairperson, during her campaign rally at Vijayapura on May 8.

“The Congress has fought a very good campaign on fundamental issues. I think we’ve put down in front of Karnataka a vision for the state. Our opposition has restricted itself to making personal attacks on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Mallikarjun Kharge and myself. They’ve not really put down what they want to do for Karnataka,” Rahul said.

The Congress chief steered clear of questions about his claim to be India’s next prime minister. “This Karnataka election is not about me. It’s about Karnataka’s future, but Modi likes to distract people as he has nothing to say. I won’t engage in that distraction.”

Rahul said he had now learned how to deal with Modi. “When Modi realises he’s coming into space where there’s no escape, he distracts and creates anger. We won’t let him do that. We’ll defeat the BJP in Karnataka,” he said, ruling out hung Assembly theories. He added that Modi was angry because “he sees me as a threat.”

Rahul defended the state government’s decision to accord ‘religious minority’ status on the Lingayat community, speaking up on the issue for the first time in public. “The Congress party helps people empower themselves.”

On the BJP branding him as an ‘Election Hindu’ for visiting places of religious worship, Rahul said: “I don’t think they understand the term Hindu. The term ‘Hindu’ is a perspective. It’s a viewpoint. It’s something imbibed in the heart and lives with you throughout. The ‘Election Hindu’ statement is a demonstration of how they view their religion.”