Commit to truth or join the BJP: Rahul Gandhi asks party members

Rahul Gandhi on Saturday urged party members who are not committed to the struggle for truth to join the BJP, his comments arriving in Gujarat, where the Congress has been beset by defections.

Rahul, speaking on the final day of a three-day brainstorming session in Dwarka, betrayed his concern over recurring desertions and possible sabotage – issues that party unity has grappled with for two decades.

Instead of adopting a conciliatory note, he said, “I only need five leaders who are committed to fighting the BJP in the state. These five leaders must find two more and the BJP will be uprooted here.

He added: “We need to identify the leaders who work on the ground and separate them from those who sit in air-conditioned rooms, pontificate and create unrest.

“Those who fight, those who are with the truth, are ours. We need them. The others can leave. We can offer them to the BJP. They can take more Kauravas. The day we have 25 committed leaders, the BJP will be expelled.

Rahul peppered his speech with hints of sabotage from within, reinforcing the perception that a segment of the Gujarat Congress had never seriously fought the BJP since Narendra Modi emerged in the state.

“In the last Assembly election, a senior official here told me that the fight was very tough, (that) we would not get more than 40 to 45 seats,” Rahul said.

“We launched a fierce battle and slowly they started to recognize that the political mood was changing. In the end, six-seven seats made the difference and the BJP just fought their way through.

Rahul argued that the situation was much worse for the BJP now. “The CBI, the ED, the media, the police, criminals… a new outfit every day makes no difference,” he said.

“The truth is simple, it looks like this,” he added, pointing to a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi hanging above the stage.

“Gandhi spread his message to the world. When I went to South Africa at the age of 19 and asked Nelson Mandela how he had spent 26 years in prison, including seven years in solitary confinement, he told me: “I don’t have never been alone. Mahatma Gandhi has always been with me”. With the force of Gandhi the government was ousted in South Africa and you say you can’t kick out the BJP government?

Rahul continued, “Confusion is in your mind. You have already won. You do not accept this truth. The BJP has not damaged the Congress as much as it has hurt the people of Gujarat. They have suffered from Covid mismanagement; they saw unemployment and the destruction of businesses.

“People look up to Congress and if we put a credible program and governance plan in front of them, the BJP is out. The people just want to know what Congress will do and who will do it. Just give me one more thing – don’t accept that you will lose until the battle is over, and you will win.

State Unit Head Jagdish Thakor and Gujarat Central Leadership Custodian Raghu Sharma indicated that a new leadership structure is likely to emerge with greater responsibility for the youths, saying bluntly entrenched forces not to create obstacles.

Congress intends to adopt a Dwarka Declaration, presenting the people with a comprehensive governance agenda well ahead of the Assembly elections, scheduled for December.

Joseph K. Bennett