Alliance talks only after polls: Rahul Gandhi


Kolkata : Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Saturday said he was not ready to be prime minister yet and added that the issue of post-poll alliances would be decided by “senior leaders” of his party after the Lok Sabha elections.

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“I would refuse (the prime minister’s post)…for two reasons. One is that I am now working on the organisation of the Congress. It’s important that a pro-poor youth Congress organisation is developed,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters.

“I don’t think I have the experience to be the prime minister of the country right now. My father (late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi) was different,” he added.

Rajiv Gandhi was 40 when he became the country’s prime minister in 1984 after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi will be 39 in June.

Addressing a press conference here, the Gandhi scion said discussions regarding an alliance with the Left parties to form India’s next government will be held by his party’s “senior leaders” after the parliamentary polls.

“I think all these discussions will be held after the elections, once the results are out… Let’s see what the outcome is,” Gandhi said, responding to Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat’s statement that the third Front was not averse to seeking outside support from the Congress to form a government.

“I am nobody to keep the door open for anybody. There are senior people. As the general principle, the door of Congress is always open for anybody who wants to join the party,” he said.

The Congress general secretary continued his sharp attacks on West Bengal’s Left Front government, saying the Communist parties do not have the right ideas for growth.

“The fact is the Left does not have right ideas for growth,” Rahul Gandhi said, referring to the Left’s remarks that Congress alliance partner Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was “anti-development”.

“I think development is about balance…We have done massive programmes, unprecedented programmes for poor, like NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). This is one aspect of development. The other aspect is where we get the money for the programmes. The money we got from progressive policies in Delhi. You have to grow the economy and make sure that the poor of the county are benefited and involved,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi said while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government made the mistake of focussing on liberalisation and forgetting the poor, the Left was making a mistake by going the opposite way.

The Gandhi scion strongly criticised the Left Front for failing to deliver the fruits of development to the poor.

“I saw the statistics on NREGA and I was shocked. There are places where lakhs of job cards are being given but only five-six families have jobs. I have seen a better situation in Uttar Pradesh. It (the NREGA scheme) does not seem to be running here.

He also likened Bengal’s western district of Purulia to backward districts like Kalahandi in Orissa and those in Bundelkhand region.

Asked to comment on the Nandigram violence where the state government had to abort its bid to set up a chemical hub following peasant unrest, Gandhi accused the Left Front of failing to find the balance between growth and the rights of people who are harmed as a result of that growth.

“Nandigram was a case where that balance was mismatched,” he said.

Asked whether his being in politics reinforced the dynastic tag on the Congress, Rahul Gandhi shot back: “Manmohan Singh is not from the Gandhi dynasty. He is the prime minister.”

“You see me as a Gandhi…I can’t change that. I am from the Gandhi family. They are my parents and grandparents.”