Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday graded his party’s efforts in the Opposition as excellent. He claimed his party had successfully fulfilled its role as an Opposition party to protect the institutions of the country from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Gandhi also questioned why Modi has not taken his challenge to debate him on the Rafale jet deal. He was speaking at a press conference on Friday evening, held at the same as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s press meet, where Amit Shah and Modi addressed media persons.

Gandhi also claimed that the Election Commission had been biased during the elections and has issued orders keeping in mind Modi’s poll schedule. He said that the poll body has taken no action against the prime minister for objectionable remarks, but has penalised other leaders for making the same kind of comments.

He also criticised the media of having double standards when it comes to questioning the prime minister and himself. “When you question me, you ask me where the money for the NYAY [or the Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme] scheme is coming from,” Gandhi said. “You ask him how he likes to eat mangoes, to tell you about Balakot [air strikes].”

“It’s raining today, I got worried, what if Modi’s aircraft goes missing,” Gandhi said, in a sarcastic reference to Modi’s recent claims about poor weather during the Balakot air strikes.

Gandhi took a jibe at Modi’s record of a lack of press conferences and claimed that he himself had improved with addressing press meets due to repeated sessions. Gandhi thanked media personnel for helping him improve.

The Congress leader claimed that Modi’s philosophy is one of violence. Gandhi said the election is being contested on the matters of unemployment, agrarian crisis, Rafale deal controversy and other matters.

‘Will not pre-judge the decision of the people’

The Congress president said the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Telugu Desam Party will not support the National Democratic Alliance, PTI reported. “But a secular formation is going to win the maximum number of seats,” Gandhi said.

However, he added that he will not pre-judge the decision of the people of India. “The mood and vision of the people will come out on May 23,” the Congress chief said. “Whatever the people decide, we will do that. Whatever the mood and vision of people of India, it will be known on May 23.”

Gandhi said the first priority of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh is to defeat the BJP, and the second to promote its ideology. He said the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are “ideologically on the same page as us”.

Earlier on Friday, Gandhi had said that unlike his party, Modi does not even acknowledge his mistakes. He made the comment at a rally in Solan Lok Sabha constituency in Himachal Pradesh. “The Congress learns from its mistakes,” the Congress chief said. “On the other hand, Modi, far from learning from his mistakes, does not even acknowledge them.”