Rahul Gandhi condemns Election Commission

The Congress had lodged complaints almost every day during the Lok Sabha campaign

  • Published 18.05.19, 5:30 AM
  • Updated 18.05.19, 5:30 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Rahul Gandhi at the news conference on Friday. (Prem Singh)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday refused to pre-empt the people’s verdict but unambiguously condemned the Election Commission as “biased”.

Responding to a question on the Election Commission at a media conference minutes before the unusually protracted campaign came to an end, Rahul said: “I don’t feel good to say that the EC’s role was biased. It was as if Narendra Modi can say anything. Other leaders were punished for similar violations. The commission’s partiality was visible. Even the (election) schedule was designed to help Modi.”

Asked about the remedy, Rahul said: “We have to repose faith in the Election Commission. What else can we do?”

The Congress had lodged complaints almost every day during the campaign and even formally criticised the constitutional body for not acting against two persons — Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

“Modi had enormous money; almost 1-to-20 ratio compared to us. Unlimited money, unlimited television (time) and marketing. We had truth on our side and truth will win,” Rahul said.

Asked repeatedly about the number of seats he expected the Congress to win, Rahul refused to be drawn in.

“Wait for May 23. I cannot disrespect the people of India by pre-empting their verdict. The people will show the way and we will accept their decision.”

Rahul did not answer questions on a possible prime ministerial candidate, arguing that only the verdict would clarify the situation.

Asked about Shah’s claim that the BJP would cross 300 seats, he smiled and said: “Very good, very good, very good. I am very pleased that Mr Amit Shah is saying 300 paar. Good for him.”

On whether he was confident that the SP and the BSP would align with the Congress after the elections although the alliance did not tie up with the Grand Old Party, Rahul said: “I respect their decision to fight alone. I have to push the Congress ideology, carve out space for the Congress.

“But our No. 1 objective was to ensure the BJP loses. Ideologically, all these parties — the SP, BSP and the Congress — are on the same page. I don’t see any of these parties supporting the BJP.”

Rahul was asked about the Prime Minister’s assertion that he would not forgive BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur for glorifying Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.

“Modi’s philosophy of violence is not Gandhi’s philosophy,” he replied.

The Congress chief had tweeted about the subject a little earlier: “I finally got it. The BJP and the RSS... Are not God-Ke Lovers. They are God-Se Lovers.”

Asked what role UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi would play in government formation, Rahul said: “Be it Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh… they have experience. I am not Modi, I don’t throw away experienced people.”

Earlier in the day, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said Modi had come to power on the promise of hope, change, economic prosperity and “achchhe din” and that his government would be shown the door this time because of the atmosphere of hate, despair, division and economic devastation it had allegedly fostered.

“This sums up the sordid saga of five years of Modi rule,” Surjewala added.

The Congress leader said fear and despair had gripped people in the past few years “and the society got completely divided because of communal hatred”.

Elaborating on the purported damage to institutions and the economy, Surjewala furnished data on 25 indices.