New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday referred to the infamous hug last year and said that his love outperformed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hatred for him. Last year, Rahul Gandhi had hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Parliament. At a rally in Gujarat on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi said that only love can put an end to hatred. “When I hugged him, there was no hate for him in me. But when I hugged him, my love suppressed the hatred in him. And this is what Gandhi ji said– this country is not the country of hate, it is the country of love,” added Rahul Gandhi.

Before embracing Modi during the No-confidence debate in the Parliament in July 2018, the Congress President said, “You can abuse me, you can call me Pappu, but I don’t have a speck of hatred against you. I will take out this hatred out of you and turn it into love. I am the Congress.”

Meanwhile, the Congress President launched his 2019 election campaign from Lal Dungri village in Gujarat’s Dharampur as Lal Dungri (translated as Red Onion) is expected to bring good omen for the country. Not losing out on the fact that the Congress attaches historic importance to this region, the Bharatiya Janata Party moved in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from neighbouring Maharashtra to Dharampur on Wednesday, a day ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s Jan Akrosh Rally, to galvanise over 4,000 party workers at a ‘cluster meeting’ of the party’s rank and file in presence of state chief Jitu Vaghani.

The meeting, held at Rajchandra Ashram hall in Dharampur, was to address party workers of three Lok Sabha constituencies in South Gujarat dominated by Adivasis. Fadnavis told party workers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government had got a clean chit on the Rafale fighter jet deal from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) while the Congress leaders’ hands were sullied in AgustaWestland chopper deal.

Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, was expected to make a strong statement against land acquisition for the bullet train in this region where angry farmers who are losing their fertile fields are locked in a battle with the government, the matter now awaiting judgment in the Gujarat High Court. Sources say there is also a move to hold a meeting of the party’s highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), in South Gujarat to demonstrate the importance the party gives to the state.

(With Agency inputs)