New Delhi: Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the amount of money being spent on Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's rallies, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the talk of a Modi wave is all hype.
While talking to CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate, Ramesh said that the next elections will be between the Congress and the RSS.
Here is the transcript of an excerpt from the interview:
Karan Thapar: The next election is increasingly being perceived as Congress versus Narendra Modi. How are you going to take up that challenge?
Jairam Ramesh: Well it's Congress versus the RSS. That's the real challenge
Karan Thapar: That's just clever language.
Jairam Ramesh: It's not. It's the Congress versus the RSS because over the last one year or one and a half years what has been clearly demonstrated is that the RSS turns the key and the BJP begins to dance.
Karan Thapar: That is not true of the relationship that Narendra Modi has had with the RSS as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. In fact he has defied them.
Jairam Ramesh: It's because of the RSS that Narendra Modi is where he is.
Karan Thapar: It's arguable; in fact the RSS has accepted Narendra Modi because of the overwhelming public support in his favour. They have accepted a reality.
Jairam Ramesh: You are flying the face of your facts. It's the RSS which has dictated this choice. It is the RSS which has installed Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. And let me say for the record that the Congress-BJP contest is not a nationwide contest. It's a contest in Rajasthan, it's a contest in Madhya Pradesh, it's a contest in Chhattisgarh, it's a contest in Karnataka, it's a contest in Uttarakhand and Himachal. The Congress is the only party which is fighting the BJP in some states, regional parties in some other states.
Karan Thapar: There are moments in Indian electoral history when a wave sweeps the country. It happened with Indira Gandhi, it happened with Rajiv Gandhi.
Jairam Ramesh: Are you saying that there is a wave in favour of Modi?
Karan Thapar: It's possible, that's what I am saying. Disenchantment with your government, belief in Mr Modi's decisive leadership and good change can actually be the trick that does the work for him. That's what you haven't factored in.
Jairam Ramesh: Karan, I travel across the lengths and breaths of the country and let me tell you, I do not find a wave in favour of Mr Modi. I certainly find Mr Modi in the media, I find Mr Modi in the social media, I find Mr Modi a subject of urban commentary but I do not find the type of wave, quote unquote wave that you are talking about.