Accusing BJP of fanning communal flames, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the party's "politics of hatred" was damaging the country's fabric and apprehended he may also be assassinated like his grandmother and father, who had fallen victim to it.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi at a public rally in Alwar, Rajasthan. (PTI photo)
Striking an emotional chord, the Congress vice-president said that when he visited riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh sometime back and talked to both Hindus and Muslims, he could see his own story in their words.
"I was seeing my face in their grief. That is why I am against their (BJP's) politics....What do they do. They will put Muzaffarnagar on fire, Gujarat on fire, UP on fire and Kashmir on fire and then you and we will have to douse that. This damages the country," Gandhi said.
He said that such politics leads to anger and resentment and precious lives are lost in violence.
"My grandmother was killed. My father was assassinated and perhaps I may also be killed one day. I am not bothered. I had to tell you what I felt from the heart," Gandhi said and vowed to oppose BJP's politics.
Gandhi, whose grandmother Indira Gandhi was killed by her Sikh bodyguards during the militancy days in Punjab and father Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE, also narrated an incident of an MLA from Punjab visiting his office recently and telling him that had they met 20 years ago, he would have killed the Congress vice president due to anger.
"Anybody can get angry. The anger is deliberately put into people. Politicians do it. Interested party does it. And then the common man, who is hurt has to carry this anger with him. He moves everywhere with this anger. That is why I am against the politics of BJP. Because what they do is that they hurt (people) for political gains."
He told the gathering, which included a number of Sikhs, that after the assassination of his grandmother, he came to know that the assassins Satwant Singh and Beant Singh wanted lob a grenade at her grandmother on Diwali.
Gandhi said it took him 10-15 years to put aside his anger against his friends Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, who were bodyguards of his grandmother.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi at a public meeting in Churu, Rajasthan.
Pointing towards Sikhs sitting in Churu, Gandhi said that people in Punjab were angry then but now that anger has subsided.
"Some months back, an MLA from Punjab had come to me. Talks were going on. Before leaving he told me that had he met me 20 years back, he would have killed. He said that he was full of anger then but now he can even embrace me.
"It takes years for that anger to subside but a minute to provoke it...it take so much time to remove that anger and create brotherhood," he said.
Relating the anger among a section of people due to communal violence to the larger theme of resentment due to deprivation in society, the Congress vice president said that anger does not emanate only from killings and also from hunger.
Reaching out to youths, Gandhi also promised to end the "quotaism in political system", where a handful run the show, in the same way his father late Rajiv Gandhi brought an end to quota system in telephone allocation.
"We have to change one more thing in the next 10 years and this we have to do with youths. The biggest lacunae in our country is in the political system. Be it of BJP, Congress, BSP and SP. This system is run by 300 to 400 people. I want that in coming years, system should be run by lakhs of youths.
"Rajiv Gandhi had brought to an end to quotas in (landline) telephone and all of you got a mobile phone in your hand. I want to bring an end to this quotaism in the political system and as you have mobile phone in your hand, political power will also be in your pocket in future," Gandhi said.
Noting that political change will be heralded in the country after 2014, he said once Congress party introduces it, all other parties will follow suit like they do in other aspects.
Rahul Gandhi meets people at a public meeting in Churu, Rajasthan.(PTI photo)
"The fight for 2014 is going on. My job is not only to win elections but also to tell you the long-term thinking for future," he said, promising youths of Rajasthan not only employment in India but also abroad in the time to come due to the measures taken by the UPA government.
Gandhi said Congress is doing the politics of rights. In a speech laced with anecdotes, he talked at length of the rich poor divide in society telling people that while BJP only talked about roads, Congress-led UPA not only built three times more roads than them but also gave employment, food security and land rights to people through laws on food security, MNREGA and land acquisition.
"When a woman watches television, they see the rich in aeroplanes, big boats and cars on one hand and on the other hand their kids who are hungry and sitting idle at home. They ask what will happen to them. When will they board the plane and the ship.
"On the other hand, the youths also have their pain. We want to bring everybody together. The poor, the rich, all sections of people belonging to all communities and all religions. We are not saying that the poor only live in India. Without business and industry, the country cannot progress. We want there should be a partnership between the poor and the rich," he said.
Gandhi said that ongoing works like laying of new railway lines and setting up of freight corridor will create new avenues in manufacturing sector for the youths in the country.
Going interactive with the women and youths in the rally, the Congress Vice President told them that his party tries to lessen the pain and anger among them and takes measures to create employment for crores of the unemployed.
"Congress is doing the politics of the poor, the politics or rights...I want that the country stays united and fight together," he said.
He said that the country's fabric is damaged and people are killed due to BJP's politics on the other hand.
"This does not help the country. This damages the nation. People die due to it and this generates anger. I have seen it not once but twice," he said referring to the assassination of his grandmother and father.