Congress president Rahul Gandhi told reporters, ahead of his formal launch of the election campaign with DMK president M K Stalin, that the grand alliance was taking shape but the people would decide who should be Prime Minister.
Asked specifically whether he was in the race of the Prime Ministership in the event of the grand alliance led by the Congress got majority, Rahul Gandhi said it was not right to impose the leadership on the people.
He said it was not though that only the BJP had firmed up a strong alliance. He said the Congress had also formalized alliance in States like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jharkand and was in final stages of talks in other States like Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir were in the final stages.
Rahul Gandhi termed the DMK-Congress alliance as a powerful alliance as it was constructive and brought about through meeting of minds. He repeated the charge that the BJP Government had systematically undermined institutions like the RBI, the CBI and even the judiciary. He cited the removal of the CBI chief in the wee hours of the morning and the sudden demonetization without even consulting the RBI.
On the Rafale deal, he said:”we have no doubt on the capabilities. But corruption in the deal is crystal clear. If we come to power, we will initiate enquiry.. We are 100 per cent certain of Modi and Anil Ambani’s involvement:
Accusing the BJP of being Delhi-centric, he said the Modi Government had also sought to destabilise opposition-run States. He said the BJP government discriminates against States on the basis of which party was ruling and “this is anti-national”.
“There is also an attack on language and culture, not only in Tamil Nadu but also in the north-east”, he said.
“I believe in decentralisation. I do not believe India should be ruled from PMO. A State too should not be ruled from the CM office. A panchayat has a role, an MLA has a role”.
He particularly charged Modi with controlling the elected Government in Tamil Nadu. He said:” Modi is running this State on remote control and it is an assault on the people”.
He also repeated the charge that the Modi Government should take the blame for the Pulwama attack. He said:” Pakistan will take any whatever opportunity they get. What did the government do to ensure that the Pakistanis did not plant the bomb? ”
He said the architect of the bomb, called Masood Azhar, was released by the BJP (during Atal Bihari Vajpayee tenure) and was sent to Pakistan. The Current National Security Adviser Ajit Doval was involved in that deal.” BJP needs to explain why they sent that criminal back”, Rahul Gandhi asked.
Addressing Tamil Nadu specific issues, Rahul Gandhi referred to the opposition to National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admissions to medical courses and said: “NEET is a resolvable issue. It is discriminatory to students of TN. We could work out a flexible solution.”
He also referred to how Modi cold-shouldered the Tamil Nadu farmers’ agitation in Jantar Mantar for loan waiver and said if the Congress was voted to power, it would waive farmers’ loans.
On the emotive issue of release of seven live convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Rahul Gandhi said:” “As far as assassination of my father... Legal issue should take its course. We have no animosity towards anyone.”