Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has claimed that the “smallest disturbance can drop” the ruling National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre, Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The numbers [in the Lok Sabha] are such that they are very fragile,” Gandhi told the British newspaper. “Basically one ally [of the Bharatiya Janata Party] has to turn the other way.”

The Rae Bareli MP also claimed that there is “great discontent” within the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led coalition and that certain persons from the alliance are “in touch with us”. Gandhi did not specify if he was referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party or the NDA.

The Bharatiya Janata Party won 240 Lok Sabha seats in the general elections, a significant dip from its tally of 303 seats in 2019. As it fell short of the majority mark of 272 seats, it had to depend on its coalition partners in the NDA – primarily the Telugu Desam Party and the Janata Dal (United) – to form the government.

On the other hand, the Congress won 99 Lok Sabha seats in the election, up from its tally of 52 seats in 2019. The parties of the Opposition INDIA bloc collectively bagged 233 seats.

In his interview to the Financial Times, Gandhi said that the political landscape in the country has undergone a “tectonic shift” after the election results and added that the ruling government will “struggle” to survive.

“The space in the Indian political system has been blown open,” said the Congress MP, who won the elections from both Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli and Kerala’s Wayanad constituencies. “The idea that you can spread hatred, you can spread anger and you can reap benefits of that – the Indian people have rejected it in this election.”

Gandhi also claimed “what worked for Mr Narendra Modi in 2014 and 2019 is not working” any more. “That’s also why the coalition will struggle,” he said.

The Congress leader also emphasised the Hindutva party’s loss from Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad constituency, which includes the Ayodhya Assembly segment. “The party that spent the last 10 years talking about Ayodhya has been wiped out in Ayodhya,” Gandhi said.

Samajwadi Party’s Awadhesh Prasad won in Faizabad by a margin of 54,567 votes.

In the run-up to the election, the BJP cited the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya as one of its major achievements while in power for a second term and criticised Opposition parties for not supporting the project.

The Ram temple in Ayodhya is built on the site of the Babri mosque, which was demolished by Hindutva extremists in December 1992 because they believed that it stood on the spot where the Hindu deity Ram was born. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

“Essentially what has happened is that the basic architecture of BJP – the idea of creating religious hatred – that has collapsed,” Gandhi told the Financial Times. “The idea of Mr Modi and the image of Mr Modi has been destroyed.”

Gandhi’s comments to the newspaper echoed those made by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday in an interview to PTI.

“The NDA government has been formed by mistake,” Kharge said. “Modi ji doesn’t have the mandate. It’s a minority government. This government can fall anytime.”

When asked to elaborate, the Congress president pointed out that Modi had himself criticised “khichdi governments” in the past, a reference to coalition governments. “If the majority is not there it may fall anytime,” Kharge said.