Rahul Gandhi added that he was open to meeting and hugging his cousin but it would not be possible for him to accept the ideology he chose to endorse
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday opened up on the possibility of his cousin and BJP MP Varun Gandhi joining him in the Bharat Jodo Yatra. He said that even though he was open to meeting and hugging him, on ideological grounds, the cousins can’t walk on the same path. “He (Varun Gandhi) is in BJP if he walks here then it might be a problem for him. But my ideology doesn’t match with his,” he said addressing a press conference during his Punjab leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
He added that he was open to meeting and hugging his cousin but it would not be possible for him to accept the ideology he chose to endorse. “My ideology… I cannot go to the RSS office, you will have to behead me. And my family has an ideology and there is a thinking system. While Varun (Gandhi) at one point in time and might be today also adopted and imbibed that ideology. I can meet him with love, hug him but I cannot accept that ideology, it is impossible,” he said.
He was responding to a question about the possibility of Varun Gandhi being part of his 3,570 km yatra and if there was a chance of “family jodo” too.
Varun Gandhi, the son of Sanjay Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi, is a BJP MP from Pilibhit.
Rahul Gandhi also mentioned an incident where Varun Gandhi was appreciative of the work being done the by RSS, the ideological founder of the ruling BJP.
“Years ago, Feroze told me that RSS is doing great work in the country. I asked him to read and understand our family’s history. Had you understood our family’s ideology, you would have never said that,” Rahul Gandhi said, adding, “But there’s no hatred.”
Rahul also addressed questions on his ongoing war of words with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, who he had called “remote” in an indirect attack about who is running the show in the state. Expanding on his remarks, the Wayanad MP said, “Punjab can be governed only from Punjab and if Punjab is run from Delhi then people will react and cannot accept that.”
“The Punjabi self-belief and pride will not accept that (being governed from Delhi),” he added.
On Monday, Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at Mann during his public meeting here saying that Punjab should be run from Punjab and not from Delhi.
“Punjab should be run from Punjab and not from Delhi. I would like to say to CM Bhagwant Mann that he is the CM of Punjab and should not come under the pressure of Delhi and Arvind Kejriwal. He must work independently and should not become someone’s remote control,” Rahul Gandhi said on Monday.
Following Rahul Gandhi’s jibe, Mann on Monday night responded and said that “little knowledge is always dangerous and that is what he is proving by issuing baseless statements in the state”.
Mann reminded the Congress leader that his party had caused irreparable damage to democratic norms by running chief ministers like puppets.
“Rahul ji, it is better if you don’t speak the wrong way in Punjab… I have been made CM by the people of Punjab and Rahul Gandhi has made Channi ji. You removed Captain Amarinder Singh, an elected CM in 2 minutes after disrespecting him in Delhi. Even the Punjab Congress President is facing setbacks while traveling. you don’t look good while speaking,” Mann said.
To another question about Union Home Minister announcing that the Ram temple would be opened to the public on January 1, 2024, and what would be the strategy of the grand old party in view of Lok Sabha elections, the Congress leader said, “They will divide the country and will spread the hatred in the country. And we will open the shops of love. The culture of India is about brotherhood and love and in the end love will win.”
The Congress leader also dismissed the reports of a security breach during the Bharat Jodo Yatra on Tuesday, saying the man was there after a security check but got overexcited and tried to hug him.
Earlier today, a man rushed towards Rahul Gandhi and tried to hug him as the yatra traversed through the Hoshiarpur district but was stopped by Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring.
In a video of the incident, the man wearing a jacket could be seen rushing toward the Gandhi scion and trying to embrace him.
The Congress leader also expressed concern over “pressure” on the country’s institutions by the RSS and the BJP.
“Today, all the institutions of the country are controlled by the RSS and the BJP. There is pressure on all institutions. Press is under pressure, bureaucracy is under pressure, the Election Commission is under pressure, they put pressure on the Judiciary,” he said.
He further said that this is not a fight between one political party and another political party.
“It is now a fight between the institutions of the country, which were captured by them, and the Opposition,” he added.