Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said he was not disappointed about the alliance between the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh as long as the Bharatiya Janata Party does not come to power. He said his party will contest the Lok Sabha elections in the state with “full capacity” after the two allies excluded the Congress.

Gandhi told reporters at a press conference in Dubai that he has “tremendous respect” for the leaders of the two parties and “they have a right to do what they want to do”. He called it a “political decision”, and said it was on the Congress how to strengthen itself in Uttar Pradesh.

“I think the Congress party has tremendous amount to offer to the people of Uttar Pradesh so we will do our best as the Congress party and we will fight with full capacity to spread our ideology,” Gandhi said. The Congress may give a “surprise or two” in the elections in Uttar Pradesh, he added.

The Congress leader said it does not matter if his party contests the polls separately or with the alliance, because the end result would be the same for the BJP – “it will not win seats”.

“They [BSP and SP] have said some wrong things about the Congress, but we accept it,” Gandhi said. “Because that’s how we work.”

On Friday, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said the decision of the BSP and the Samajwadi Party to exclude his party in Uttar Pradesh could prove to be “a very dangerous mistake”.

‘Misogynistic’ remarks

Gandhi defended his remarks on Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, which were criticised for being “misogynistic”. “I would have made a very similar comment if it had been a man,” Gandhi said. “Do not impose your sexism on me. I am very clear that the prime minister should have delivered.”

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has helped Anil Ambani steal Rs 30,000 crore [with the Rafale jet deal],” Gandhi said. “The Lok Sabha, the House of the people, is where he should have defended himself but he chose to send another person and that person happened to be a woman.”

On Wednesday, Gandhi had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi “got a woman to defend him” on the Rafale deal debate in Parliament.