The idea that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a crusader against corruption has been destroyed, Rahul Gandhi said today in an interview to NDTV, his first to any television channel in the 2019 national election campaign. "The Prime Minister can't stand on a stage and say the things he was saying in 2014. We have dismantled the Prime Minister of India," said the Congress president, fielding questions on why he believed the Rafale deal is corrupt, his strategy for Uttar Pradesh and his party's agenda.
Rahul Gandhi defended his "Chowkidar Chor Hai" slogan to target PM Modi, saying he would not apologise for it even though he was wrong to put the words in the Supreme Court's mouth. Earlier this week, the Congress president told the Supreme Court he would apologise for falsely attributing the "Chowkidar Chor Hai" phrase to the top court while talking about one of its orders.
"There is absolutely no apology to PM Narendra Modi. I made a genuine mistake that I said the Supreme Court said it. I am not apologising in the least for saying Chowkidar Chor Hai," he told NDTV.
"I'll say it over and over, Chowkidar Chor Hai."
He claimed that the Rafale allegations had caught on in a big way across India. "I just say chowkidar in rallies...," he grinned, referring to his ritual of calling out "Chowkidar" at public rallies and having his audience finish it with "...chor hai"
The Congress, he said, had successfully conveyed the idea that PM Modi is helping the corrupt.
"When we started, less than 20 per cent knew about the Rafale case. Our numbers show that 67 per cent in India now know that Rafale was a scam. Let's do a Joint Parliamentary Committee. Corruption will be established."
Rahul Gandhi said his party was doing better after four rounds of voting for the Lok Sabha polls. "The BJP is not winning, it is pretty clear. Narendra Modi is not going to be Prime Minister, guaranteed. There is massive unemployment in the country, massive farmer disenchantment, farmer suicides in the country," he said.
"The primary issue in Indian elections is jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs. And the economy. It's a pity the Prime Minister can't talk about these issues. We have boxed him in and he can't talk."