Varanasi: Stating he was not "obsessed" with becoming the Prime Minister of the country like many other political leaders, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Monday said he was committed to transforming Uttar Pradesh where people have been "fooled" for the last 22 years by successive regimes.
Addressing a press conference here, on the last day of campaigning for the 1st phase of polls due on February 8, Rahul said he was not concerned about winning or losing the high-stakes battle in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections as his only aim was to restore honour of the people of the state.
“This is no longer an election and frankly, I am not concerned about what the results are… this is epoch… what has been going on in UP for the last 22 years is a crime. It is our duty to not accept the misrule and the type of games being played with the people of this state,” he said, adding, “I have realised the power of the people of the state. I have realised that this state can stand on its feet very soon.”
“You change the state with an idea; I want to give hope to the people of UP and I will not leave until the state gets hope. I am absolutely convinced, not 99%, not 99.9% but 100% that this state has energy to transform itself… all UP needs now is someone who hold its hand and says let’s do it,” he said.
Rahul was unsparing in his criticism of BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, saying both have distanced themselves from the people and do not want to bring about a change.
He said governments in UP in the last 22 years have only worked for 10 per cent of the population. Parties with "goondas and thieves" came to power one after the other, he said.
Making his point, the young leader stated, “UP is slowing India down and it is not UP’s fault; it is the fault of the leaders of the UP of the last 22 years. We will not tolerate it anymore. Full stop!”
When asked by a scribe whether he was conceding defeat by talking about “being not concerned about election results”, he said, “I am not conceding defeat, I am conceding victory. The results will be solid for the Congress. People of UP are looking at Congress seriously, wherever I go the people are saying this to me. “
“Be it 200 (seats), 400 or 2, till the time people of UP don’t get respect I will be here. We are here not to form alliances with political parties, we will form alliances only with the people of UP,” he added.
“Mission 2012 is not my line…my mission is to change UP, I want to change UP. 2012 elections, then 2014 elections, Rahul Gandhi will not step backward till UP stands on its feet,” he stressed.
“Congress party will stand up (he actually stood up from his seat to assert his belief) in this election. After that whatever happens in the politics of UP, Congress will be a decider,” a confident looking Rahul announced.
‘Not in race for PM’
Gandhi dismissed speculation that he was in the race for prime ministership.
Slamming his opponents, he said, “Every political leader in the country has one obsession - that is prime ministership. I have one obsession too and that is to correct the monumental crime being committed in UP…I don’t want anything else. I am not talking about lies here, I am not promising lies here because I am only repeating what they are saying.”
“Political leaders start to believe that they have power but no political leader in the world has power… they just transmit... we listen, we transmit,” Rahul said.
When asked about the steps being taken by the UPA government to bring back black money, which can aid in the development of UP, Rahul said that Baba Ramdev has been sending people with black flags to his rallies but he is not concerned. “I have learnt from my grandmother, I don’t fear anyone,” he stated.
Targeting the BJP over corruption, he said its leader LK Advani and some others had laughed at him for his idea of constitutional status to Lokpal but a constitutional status for Lokpal was "India's idea".
He said there is a "beauty" in the design of the Election Commission which has constitutional status. "Let us make a Lokpal Bill along the same lines."
He said Advani overlooked corruption in BJP-ruled states during his anti-corruption yatra.
"Whenever there has been a problem of corruption in the Congress party, any place, any time, we will take action. We have put ministers in jail."