In an exclusive interview to Headlines Today Rahul Gandhi hit out at Narendra Modi saying his Gujarat model favoured only industrialists and it was all talk and no show.
"Gujarat first stood on it's feet on the basis of small businesses. Amul milk, the co-operative movement is what Gujarat draws it's strength from. Let's look at the Gujarat model. One man whose business turnover ten years ago, was Rs 3,000 crore is now worth Rs 40,000 crore rupees today," Rahul said.
When asked if he was speaking of Adani he said, "I don't want to take names. He's worth Rs 40,000 crore. How did this happen? Land the size of Vadodara was given to him. Are you aware at what For Rs 300 crore. Now, you talk about the state. Textile industry is finished. I have interacted with diamond cutters of Gujarat. They are perishing. Their children are dying of hunger. The farmers are crying. The state has maximum labour disputes. But, there is marketing. They come on TV and talk. So, this is the reality of the Gujarat model — favour two or three industrialists. It's very simple. Can you name any other industrialists in Gujarat?" he asked.
Gandhi who filed his nomination papers from Amethi earlier today dismissed pre-poll surveys saying this had been said about the Congress in 2004, as well as in 2009. "In 2004, the exit polls predicted the Congress party would lose. There was so much talk about the India shining campaign marketing campaign. In 2009, they said the same. But the results were contradictory. The marketing is good. The BJP knows how to market itself. But in the end, the result will speak for itself," he said.
While he said he was not interested in Modi's personal issues, he said Modi represents an ideology that would harm the country. "The ideology he represents is to make one community fight with another. This ideology is dangerous for India. My fight is against that ideology. Now, in Gujarat he has his own economic ideas. I told you my opinion on those economic ideas. For one or two or three people to be entrusted with the entire country's wealth is dangerous. This is what I fight against. I'm not interested in personal attacks and I don't veer into that area," he said.
Asked about comments by Azam Khan and Mulayam Singh he said any kind of fundamentalism was dangerous for India. "We are challenging the Samajwadi Party in UP. We don't have a partnership with them. Any kind of fundamentalism is dangerous for India. Our country progresses only when there is communal harmony. We have governed for 10 years now. There is a debate about growth rate. We have delivered a high rate of growth. We have built roads, we have generated adequate power, we lifted 15 crore people above the line of poverty. We have delivered on both counts. There is no marketing, there is no glitz. But programmes, information, to understand the people's pain — the Congress know how to do that."
Answering a question on corruption Rahul Gandhi said, "Corruption is India's reality. But if we have to combat corruption, then we have to stop talking and start acting. How will that change happen? With institutional frameworks, not rhetoric. You read the BJP manifesto. They say we will fight against the corruption. But point me to where they specify their strategy. What will they do to act against corruption? The biggest achievement in this direction, and I have contributed to it, has been the right to information act."
While Rahul says he has contributed to help the country get rid of corruption, his critics have said that he does not practice what he preaches. "Like I told you, I intervened during RTI. I was not at the forefront, I stayed in the background. When Lokpal was being discussed, I spoke about an constitutional amendment. A constitutional Lokpal would be stronger than the Lokpal bill we have passed. The one that has been passed is institutional, a body like the Election Commission," he said.
However, he said fighting corruption would be a long battle, "If you are serious about weeding out corruption, you should know it's going to be a long battle, not a small fight. I've been on the job and I will continue to be on it. I think that if you want to emerge victorious, you will have to change the political parties. The solution will emerge from doing that."
Rahul Gandhi also dismissed allegations that the Congress destroyed India's economy. "The truth is that we have, in our 10 years, delivered a much higher growth rate as compared to the five years that the NDA was in power. At the end of the day, there has been a global recession and it has caused a slowdown in India as well. But if you compare, we have fared a lot better than the BJP. And this is the reality. People of India are aware of it. Business class needs to understand that we will move ahead with this partnership. Only when there is a partnership between the common man and industry leaders, will the nation move ahead. If you focus only on the poor and forget the business class, we will not progress."
"We speak about the manufacturing corridor, we talk about roads, we talk about power, but in the same breath, we talk about the poor as well. People say they don’t get traiend workers. But it is our responsibility to provide training to the large number of poor in our small towns and in our villages who are the human resources of our future," he said.
When asked about complaints in Amethi on infrastructure he said, "In Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Party is in power. The responsibility of roads, electricity and schools lies with the state government. The Central government has built national highways and we have done a good job. We have done a lot of work for and with women in Amethi. We have opened bank accounts for over 10-12 lakh women and it has changed their lives. In UP we don’t have a Congress government and this affects the people of the state and that is the reality we have to accept."
Lastly when Rahul was asked a personal question about getting married he said, "When I find the right girl, I will get married. I don't get much time that’s true. But it's about destiny."