Expressing confidence that UPA will form the government again, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday asserted that Bharataiya Janata Party's campaign "balloon" will burst like 'India Shining' in 2004 as he warned that Narendra Modi's coming to power would be damaging for the country.
Rahul, along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cautioned that Modi's ideology was against the idea of India and the Congress will fight in a determined manner to ensure that this ideology is defeated.
Releasing the party's manifesto, they debunked the opinion polls which are predicting a dismal show by the UPA in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and said everybody will be "surprised" when the election results come in.
On the upbeat campaign of NDA, Rahul said, "just like the 'India Shining' balloon exploded... I can say certainly the balloon will explode."
He said this will be particularly true in Uttar Pradesh where 80 seats are at stake.
He said BJP has the ability of carrying out campaigns like 'India Shining' but all should keep in mind that that campaign "evaporated" when the results came in 2004.
Attacking Modi, BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Rahul said he had nothing against him as an individual but was opposed to his ideology which is against the idea of India.
"Modi represents an ideology which is exclusive," he said.
Rahul was asked whether he agrees with the statement of the prime minister about two months back that Modi's coming to power will be "disastrous" for the country.
Replying, the Congress vice president said, "the PM is a wise man and on most of the issues I bow to him. I tend to agree with his wisdom."
He went on to add that it was not an issue of an "individual" but the "ideology which is questioning the idea of India. "Individuals may have personal likes or dislikes but the real danger is the ideology," he added.
Rahul along with Sonia Gandhi debunked the opinion polls which project a dismal show for the Congress.
"I frankly don't have much faith in the opinion polls. In 2004 also, the story of Congress was over as per the opinion polls. In 2009 also, we were given no chance. But we got more seats. So, we cannot go 100 per cent by the opinion polls," the Congress president said.
Rahul also talked in the same vein, saying in 2009 Congress was projected to suffer badly and predicted NDA wave. In UP, Congress was projected to get 5 seats (but it got 22 seats).
"You did not believe us then. When the results come (this time), you will be surprised," he added.
On the virtual defeat of purpose of the 'primaries' system of choosing candidates introduced by him, Rahul said it was an "idea" in whose implementation there could be "some shortcomings".
"There will be issues in one or two seats but these are the things that will come up in every process," he added.
Sonia Gandhi expressed confidence that Congress will do well in the upcoming polls.
To a question on Varanasi where Modi is contesting, she said the Congress will "definitely challenge" the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
"Most certainly we are going to challenge the Varanasi seat. Why should we not? But we have not yet decided on the candidate," she said.
At the function to release the manifesto, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi hailed the 10-year UPA rule under prime minister Manmohan Singh as they promised a slew of initiatives under the "New Vision", including right to health, right to entrepreneurship and an ambitious plan to upgrade 70 million people to middle class who are currently just above the poverty line.
"The 2014 polls is not only about programmes, policies, planning and economic development but also to preserve the Constitutional structure of the country envisaged by our freedom fighters. We will fight in these elections, not for uniformity but for unity.
"We will struggle for such India which is secular and inclusive and does not pit one against the other. We will struggle for such an India in which religion, region and language are not important and in which all are considered Indians," she added.
Image: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi