- Rahul Gandhi says his political rivalry with PM does not extend to hatred
- Confident our party will reverse trend in Gujarat: Rahul Gandhi
- Rahul Gandhi will take over as Congress president on Saturday
"I can have two reactions when they say something about my father who I love, when they abuse me. I can either hate or love even more. The more they place hurdles before me, the stronger I get. Modiji helps me the most, how can I hate him?" said Mr Gandhi in an interview to Gujarati news channel GSTV.
"There is zero anger or hatred in me," he said.
As he takes over as Congress president from his mother Sonia Gandhi, an elevation that has been seen as a long time coming, Rahul Gandhi has been credited, even by BJP ally the Shiv Sena, of having shed his former image of a reluctant leader. He insisted nothing has changed.
"It's not a makeover. They used a lot of money and people to distort my image. I believe in the truth, I speak the truth and the truth is out," said Mr Gandhi, who has been lampooned for years on social media and otherwise by BJP supporters as "Pappu."
The Shiv Sena, the BJP's ornery partner, recently said that Mr Gandhi is "capable of leading the country and it is wrong to call him Pappu."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr Gandhi on Monday after his party announced that he had been elected Congress president, and wished him "a fruitful tenure." Mr Gandhi thanked the Prime Minister.
In public speeches, however, they have sparred bitterly, exchanging barbs and allegations. Mr Gandhi has attacked the ruling BJP on its mega economic policies, the notes ban and new national tax GST, alleging that they have brought farmers and small traders to their knees.
PM Modi has sought to contrast his credentials as a self-made leader who once sold tea on trains with Rahul Gandhi's privileged political career as a member of the Congress' first family the Gandhi-Nehrus, attacking the party over its "dynastic politics."
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.