‘Fought With Hands Tied Behind Our Back…’: Rahul Gandhi on Impact of Bharat Jodo Yatra on Poll Results – News18

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks at a rally in Kalpetta, Wayanad district. (Image: PTI/File)

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the gains made by the opposition INDIA bloc in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were like a “tectonic shift” in Indian politics

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the two Bharat Jodo yatras may have made all the difference for the INDIA bloc and his party because everything else – the judicial system, media and institutional framework – was shut. He said the opposition front fought the Lok Sabha elections with its hands tied behind its back, but the underprivileged sections of India “knew exactly what they had to do”.

“We fought with our hands tied behind our back… and Indian people, poor people, knew exactly what they had to do,” he told Financial Times in his first interview after the election results were declared on June 4.

He said the gains made by the opposition in these polls were like a “tectonic shift” in Indian politics. “A lot of the ideas that succeeded in this election came from that walk – and they came not from us but from the people of India,” he was quoted as saying.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the INDIA bloc registered a strong performance securing 233 seats. The Congress became the largest party in the opposition front, improving its performance by leaps and bounds with 99 seats. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), while it did return to power, had to form a coalition government with the help of its allies after the BJP failed to secure a majority on its own with 240 seats.

‘Numbers in Lok Sabha very fragile’

Gandhi, who has chosen to represent family bastion Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh over Kerala’s Wayanad in the Lok Sabha, said the new government formed at the Centre looks “very fragile” after the general elections. He even claimed that the “smallest disturbance can drop the government” as people in the NDA are “in touch with us”.

“Basically, one ally has to turn the other way,” he told Financial Times. But, he did not take any names and said there was “great discontent” within the Narendra Modi-led camp. He added that even though the NDA came out of the election as winners, the mandate showed that what worked for the prime minister in 2014 and 2019 is not working anymore.

‘Idea of creating religious hatred has collapsed’

The Congress MP said the idea of creating religious hatred for political gains was rejected by India this time. He said this was reflected in the BJP’s defeat in Ayodhya, where the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir was inaugurated in January with much fanfare.

“The idea that you can spread hatred, you can spread anger and you can reap benefits of that – the Indian people have rejected it in this election,” he told Financial Times.

“The party that spent the last 10 years talking about Ayodhya has been wiped out in Ayodhya… Essentially what has happened is that the basic architecture of BJP – the idea of creating religious hatred – that has collapsed,” he was quoted as saying.

The Ayodhya temple was one of the BJP’s biggest poll promises in the 2014 and 2019 polls, which the party was able to fulfil after the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2019. But, the saffron camp failed to touch the voters’ pulse on this during its poll campaign with its Faizabad candidate Lallu Singh losing to the SP’s Dalit candidate Awadhesh Prasad by 54,567 votes.