Gujarat govt responsible for 2002 riots; I am not scared of Modi: Rahul Gandhi

Taking on Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said Gujarat government was involved in 2002 riots.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Taking on Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said Gujarat government was involved in 2002 riots.

Speaking to an English news channel on Monday, Rahul defended the Congress government for 1984 riots and said, "Gujarat government was involved in 2002 riots while Congress government tried to stop 1984 riots."

At the same time, he said that, "Some Congress men were probably involved in 1984 riots, legal process is on."

To questions whether he would apologise for the 1984 riots and whether he felt that there was no need for it, Gandhi said, "First of all, I wasn`t involved in the riots at all. It wasn`t that I was a part of it."

While on the topic of taking reins of the Congress party in the upcoming General Elections, Rahul said, "I am the vice president of the party and will take full responsibility if we (Congress) lose the elections."
When asked about the criticism heaped on him by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Rahul said, "He (Swamy) has been attacking my family for 40 years. Let him take the legal process and solve it."

While on personal criticism the Congress leader said, " I respond by understanding why I am being attacked. Beat me to death, but I will keep asking questions that are relevant to the system."
"It does not matter. Keep throwing stones at us. I am being attacked because I am doing things dangerous to the system," he added.

Further while answering to a question that if not `Gandhi` had he joined politics, Rahul said, "Unfairness makes my blood boil. That`s at the heart of my politics."

To questions about dynasty politics, Gandhi said that he is "absolutely against the concept of dynasty. But it happens in BJP, SP, DMK and Congress everywhere."

"I am absolutely against the concept of dynasty. Anybody who knows me knows that and understands that. But you are not going to wish away dynasty in a closed system. You have to open the system," Rahul added.

When asked if he agreed with Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh`s view that Modi presided over the "mass massacre" of innocents on the streets of Ahmedabad, Gandhi said, "what the Prime Minister is saying is the fact. Gujarat happened and people died."

Asked if he was avoiding a direct face-off with Modi by not becoming the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Congress, the Congress Vice President said, "to understand that question, you have to understand a little bit, who Rahul Gandhi is and you get an answer to the question to what Rahul Gandhi is scared of and not scared of."

To a question as to what was his view of BJP`s Prime Ministerial candidate, he said, "I think, we will defeat the BJP in the next elections....I will win the election. I am reasonably confident."

He added that Congress was "battle ready" and "going to win".
Asked if he would take responsibility if Congress doesn`t win the election, he said, "if we don`t win, I am the Vice President of the party. I will take responsibility."

On naming Modi as PM candidate, he said, "BJP believes in concentration of power in one person. I fundamentally disagree with that. I believe in democracy. I believe in opening of the system.... We have fundamentally different philosophies."

The questioner said Rahul Gandhi has avoided the whole question about whether he was open to PM`s post and avoiding a difficult contest.

In reply, Gandhi referred to his speech at the AICC meet here and said announcing a PM candidate before an election is "announcing your PM without asking your MPs. It is not actually written in the Constitution."

He avoided direct reply to questions on whether political parties should be brought under the purview of RTI, saying Parliament should decide on it if political parties are unanimous on this. "My position is that the more openness, the better."

Asked why Congress protected former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan despite a judicial commission`s indictment, Gandhi said the party had taken action wherever corruption was involved.

He said he made his position clear on Chavan after the Maharashtra Cabinet had rejected the judicial commission`s findings.

On corruption charges against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, he said, "there is a legal process. Follow it and conclude it."

With regard to performance by Aam Aadmi Party, he said, "There are things how they have reached out to people. Don`t take that away from them."

Rahul Gandhi further said law should take its course regardless of individual personalities if AAP government in Delhi takes any action against the CWG scam.

Asked whether Congress would continue to support AAP government if it goes against Dikshit in the CWG scam, Gandhi said,"I have already said that regardless of who the person is, if there is an issue of corruption, the law should take its own course. That`s my position."

To questions about AAP`s ways of functioning, Gandhi said that what he liked about that party was that people were coming into their system.

"What I liked about what I saw in the Aam Aadmi Party was people coming into their system. I liked that. But what`s different between us and them is that we have structure. We develop processes. That I didn`t see much of (there)," he said.

He recalled that he made a comment about AAP, where he said that there is something that Congress can learn from them.

"What I felt that we could learn from them is that they reached out to people in a particular way that was good. There are things that I don`t think we should take away from them."

At the same time, he emphasized that the real power of the Congress is the depth of the Organization and "you can`t make changes by destroying things."

With PTI inputs