'BJP wants to manipulate the election': K.C. Venugopal

We are living in a dark era

43-P-Chidambaram-Sonia-Gandhi-Mallikarjun-Kharge-Rahul-Gandhi-and-Venugopal Promises to keep: P. Chidambaram, Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and K.C. Venugopal display copies of party’s election manifesto in Delhi | Sanjay Ahlawat

In an election, there should be a level playing field. By virtue of being in power, by misusing that power, the BJP is destroying the democratic values of this country. Around 80 per cent of the electoral bonds have gone to the BJP. It is using the entire machinery to get money. Most of the money in the Congress accounts came from crowdfunding. Common people donated money to the Congress and there was the membership fees of Congress workers.

People understand all this. They are not mute spectators. We are expecting that people will react to this and support us.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are trying to sabotage the entire opposition―the arrests of Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren are clear examples. The timing of the arrests is crucial. They are afraid of the Congress and the AAP coming together. That is why they put Kejriwal in jail. The Enforcement Directorate has become a tool for the BJP to fix opposition leaders. But this type of politics―misusing power, misusing agencies, will not have much impact. I can say that Kejriwal’s arrest is going to help us in Delhi.

We are living in a dark era. Modi went to Mumbai and said in a public meeting that Ajit Pawar was the most corrupt man in Maharashtra. Where is the corruption charge now? Where is the corruption charge against Praful Patel now? I don’t want to criticise my colleagues who left the party. But one thing I can say, those who can survive in this difficult period with integrity and honesty, only they can stay back in this party. People leaving will not affect the Congress’s prospects. You saw it in Telangana. You saw it in Karnataka.

There are many issues in these elections that will play a deciding part. Our youngsters are not getting jobs. Farmers are in distress. The women, too. Price rise is affecting everyone. To distract voters from the real issues, the BJP is trying to polarise them. We undertook two yatras―Bharat Jodo Yatra and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra―to take up the issues of the people. We will talk about the real issues of the people in this election.

They are proclaiming that they will get more than 370 seats. It only shows that they want to manipulate the elections. But we will not allow it. This type of claims were made in 2004, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave the ‘India Shining’ slogan. The final decision will come from the people and not from Modi or the BJP.

Venugopal is AICC general secretary in charge of organisation.