2024 LS Polls will be Close Contest: Rahul

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday predicted a close contest in the Lok Sabha elections than what is being projected in the media and exuded confidence that the NDA's 2024 campaign will meet the same fate as that of 'India Shining' in 2004.

Gandhi said unlike many political commentators he cannot predict the future. “It is a close election and we are going to fight an excellent election and we are going to win the election,” Gandhi asserted.
Speaking at the Congress manifesto launch programme, Gandhi said the I.N.D.I.A. bloc has decided that its prime ministerial face will be decided by the alliance constituents jointly after it wins the polls and exuded confidence that the NDA's 2024 campaign will meet the same fate as that of 'India Shining' in 2004.
The former Congress chief said the Lok Sabha polls are between forces who are trying to “destroy” the Constitution and democracy in the country and those protecting them.
Responding to a question after the release of the party manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, he said, “This election is about those who want to destroy the Constitution and democracy in the country versus those who want to protect the Constitution and democracy.”
“We do believe that it is very important once this fight is won that we look after the interests of the vast majority of our people, that India is not run for two or three large conglomerates but is run for the vast majority of the people, that we are not a nation of monopolies, we are a nation where there is fair competition among businesses,” he said.
Asked about who will be the prime ministerial face, Gandhi said, “I.N.D.I.A. bloc has decided that we are together fighting an ideological election, after winning the election, who will be the leader, the PM, the whole coalition will jointly decide.”
He said there was a similar feeling being generated by the press when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the prime minister in 2004 when there was the India Shining campaign.
“So, we have a similar idea being propagated, India Shining, with two-three new dimensions, with full support by the monopolists of the country. But do remember what happened to the India Shining campaign and do remember who won that campaign,” Gandhi asserted.
The NDA had lost the polls and the UPA government was sworn in.
Gandhi emphasised the uniqueness of the current election, highlighting the unprecedented risks faced by democracy and the Constitution. He underscored the significance of comprehending the underlying dynamics of India's political structure, particularly the alleged monopolisation of political finance by Narendra Modi and the BJP through entities like the Enforcement Directorate, CBI, and Income-Tax department.
Gandhi pointed out the BJP's purported exploitation of the electoral bond scheme to raise political funding, characterising it as extortion and coercion. He noted the freezing of Congress' bank accounts and highlighted the party's reliance on grassroots support, portraying their manifesto as a reflection of the people's aspirations.
Regarding Modi's challenge compared to 2019, Gandhi accused the BJP of capturing key institutions and monopolising political finance. He alleged that various institutions, including the CBI, Income-Tax Department, and Election Commission, are under BJP's control, leading to what he described as a rigged political landscape.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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