Speaking on Rahul Gandhi during a no-holds-barred interview with Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has weighed in on whether or not the Congress president may be considered as a Prime Ministerial candidate even among members of the Opposition.
As he was asked for his views on Rahul Gandhi, it was pointed out to Fadnavis just how close the two are to each other in terms of age - something that the Maharashtra Chief Minister turned out to be well aware of as he shot back "He is six months elder to me."
On being asked whether their different political ideologies was the reason he (Fadnavis) kept targetting his contemporary politician (Gandhi) and made an issue out of him 'almost 80% of the time', Fadnavis said that he bore no animosity towards Rahul Gandhi.
"I never target Rahul Gandhi. You should understand that in this country, even though Rahul Gandhi is the Congress president, nobody in the 'Gathbandhan' sees him as a Prime Ministerial candidate," he said.
He further explained that he 'felt pity for him (Rahul Gandhi)', as Congress allies themselves keep contradicting him.
"Sharad Pawar says Rahul Gandhi is not their candidate. Mamataji says she doesn't agree with Rahul Gandhi's Rs.72,000 NYAY scheme. I do not want to launch an attack on him. But he is the president of a party we are contesting against. All of these things will come forth."
Adding that he had a brusque way of talking, Fadnavis quoted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying that he too felt 'it (dynasty) had become a liability for the Congress'
"Let me tell you very honestly, it's just my aggressive style. I do not feel angered or disgusted, I feel pity for him (Rahul Gandhi) and the condition he is in. Whatever he speaks, whatever he does. What is the condition of a 100-year-old party? I won't say, but as Jaitleyji said, it is a liability. I am not such a big man, but Mr.Jaitley is. I do not have any personal grudges with him (Rahul Gandhi)."
In the exclusive interview to Republic Bharat, Fadnavis has talked on various issues ranging from Sadhvi Pragya's candidacy, the questions raised on Rahul Gandhi's citizenship, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the alliance with the Shiv Sena among others.
The third phase of Lok Sabha polls is scheduled on April 23 in which Maharashtra will vote for 15 constituencies - Jalgaon, Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Raigad, Pune, Baramati, Ahmednagar, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, and Hatkanangle. The votes will be counted for all the constituencies on May 23, 2019, and the results will be announced on the same day.