Kolkata: Going by the results of the recent Assembly polls, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor feels the ruling BJP is now in choppy waters across the Hindi belt and people now “genuinely” believe there is an alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I am very confident (of the Congress coming back to power). I believe the results suggest that not only is BJP in very big trouble across the Hindi heartland but also people genuinely believe that there is an alternative and in many places the Congress is the alternative,” he told IANS on the sidelines of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival.
“I accept that there are states where the regional parties may have greater strength but generally speaking we are very much the alternative in the eyes and minds of the voters and we are ready to play our part,” said the Thiruvananthapuram MP, now Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs.
The five states that went to the hustings in November and December last year saw the BJP losing power to the Congrees in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and failing to impress in Telangana.
Asked about Modi’s statement that his government had made doing business in India easier, cheaper, faster and smarter with his term accounting for almost 45 per cent of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) the country got in the last 18 years, Tharoor retorted that the numbers do not add up to real jobs.
“They seem to have numbers on paper that don’t add up to real jobs for real people. If India were as good as they claim, there would be a lot of contented people and new jobs with new prospects. Thanks to demonetization, millions have lost jobs. Across the board, we are seeing a story of despair and not success.”
The diplomat-turned-politician recently posted identical photos of some stone blocks in 2009 and 2019 to drive home the point that the construction of the Ram Temple has remained a mere promise.
“The message is that the BJP uses some of the emotive issues for political advantage. Their real interest in their own power,” the 62-year-old said.
“So I showed the BJP party’s building has gone into this amazing, multi-storied, fully air-conditioned and plush facility. That’s what they are all about. It’s about their power and agenda.
“Ram Mandir is part of their agenda as well and they are the ones who have created a national crisis over that issue.”
On Congress President Rahul Gandhi now attacking Modi from foreign locations, most recently in Dubai, Tharoor said it could not be one-sided show all the time.
“Why should there be one-sided virtue? He (Modi) goes abroad and attacks us, and we go abroad and behave loyally to the nation and to the government.
“So it was necessary for us to stand up for the right thing. In this particular instance, we do have a PM who has let down the people. After all (in Dubai), Rahul Gandhi was addressing Indian citizens and not foreigners.”