Q/ The Congress had won 100 seats in the last election. Will you better it this time?
Hundred per cent. We will do better; the BJP will do worse. Look at the BJP's campaign. It wants to create a narrative of 'Nahi Sahega Rajasthan [Rajasthan will not tolerate]'. What will Rajasthan not tolerate? We have given them so many guarantees―will Rajasthan not tolerate this? The BJP is not able to create a perception against us.
Q/ The BJP has raised the issue of Muslim appeasement by the Congress.
This is an old jumla [slogan] of theirs. If the BJP has grown, it is only on the basis of religion, Hindu-Muslim, Kabristan-Shamshan, in the name of India-Pakistan, Ram Mandir. It has always tried to mislead the Hindu majority community. It benefited from it twice. Now, it should tell us what it has done to remove unemployment, price rise, or to double the income of farmers, to ensure progress of women or in the fields of education and health.
The prime minister is always in election mode. The people have realised that they only talk, and it is the Congress that actually works for them, hence they will vote for the Congress.
Q/ The BJP has no chief ministerial face this time in Rajasthan. How do you view that?
The prime minister himself said that Vasundhara [Raje] is not the face. He said that for the BJP, only the lotus is the face. In the prime minister's meetings, she used to be referred to as former chief minister. Now, in their banners, they call her just an MLA. All this is approved by the prime minister's office. You are coming here only to berate your former chief minister. You are talking about 2024, and you have no chance in 2023.
Q/ We find only Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's face in the publicity material for welfare schemes. The entire credit seems to be going to him.
It is not like that. The chief minister's face is there on the schemes [as they are] the work of the government. But after the model code of conduct kicks in, the government's welfare schemes are the party's schemes and not the schemes of any one individual. The chief minister belongs to the party, and the schemes that he brings are for the party. The party worker takes it to the people, publicises it and also benefits from it.
Q/ How big an issue is caste census in this election?
It is our main agenda. Our government has issued orders to carry out a caste survey. And when our government will return, we will undertake it as a matter of priority.
Q/ There is a perception about the Congress being a divided house.
The perception has changed. The situation was different a few months ago. But there was no manbhed (personal differences) but matbhed (difference of opinion). [Mallikarjun] Kharge ji, Rahul [Gandhi] ji sat with everyone, and all the issues were discussed with the CM and with Sachin [Pilot] ji, and after that, we are all together in every meeting, in every campaign.
Q/ The Enforcement Directorate recently raided your premises and also summoned your sons for questioning.
The BJP is desperate since it knows it is losing the election. They are trying to create this narrative that our government is corrupt. But the people can see that the agencies have become active only on the eve of the elections. During the raid, the ED did not find anything. They did not ask me any question. They just took my phone. I want to ask them why BJP leaders who have amassed wealth are not raided.