At Congress’ Delhi rally, PhDs, MBAs make tea in criticism of GDP slowdown
Scores of party workers and supporters attended the rally, which was addressed by senior Congress leaders, including interim president Sonia Gandhi, former president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former finance minister P Chidambaram, and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi.Updated: Dec 15, 2019 07:55 IST
Monty Shukla and Sanjay Yadav, law graduates, Nagesh Kariappa, an MBA holder and Manish Kumar, who has a PhD in international relations, stood on the road outside central Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Saturday dressed in their graduation robes making tea and pakodas (fritters). They loudly called out to every passerby, “berozgaaron ki chai...pakode” (tea and fritters by the unemployed). They were there as part of the Congress’ ‘Bharat Bachao’ rally, which was addressed by senior party leaders.
“I do not come from a very affluent family, but my parents pushed me to pursue higher education so that I do not have to face the fate they had to. Even after completing their post-graduation, young people in the country are unemployed, and the BJP government is responsible for it,” said Kariappa, who travelled from Kerala to attend the rally.
Scores of party workers and supporters attended the rally, which was addressed by senior Congress leaders, including interim president Sonia Gandhi, former president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former finance minister P Chidambaram, and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. The leaders accused the BJP-led central government of furthering communal policies, and said they were responsible for the economic slowdown and growing unemployment.
A show of strength by the party, the rally saw participants from across states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh. Police officers controlling the crowd said the ground was overflowing with people even before the event formally began, at 10.30am, and entries had to be stopped.
In view of the attendance at the rally, Delhi Police shut traffic on all roads leading to the venue, forcing participants to walk to the ground.
While some were dressed in T-shirts with slogans, “Modi hai toh mandhi hai” (If there is Modi there is economic slowdown), others donned onion earrings and crowns made from LPG cylinder cut-outs, to highlight their increasing prices.
Speaking at the rally, Rahul Gandhi refused to apologise for his “rape in India” comment against recent cases of sexual crimes in the country, saying, “My name is Rahul Gandhi, not Rahul Savarkar. I will not apologise for speaking the truth,” to rapturous applause from the audience. He was making a reference to Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar.
Thirteen students from Kerala, all wearing matching white T-shirts, believed that even though the BJP had come back to power in this year’s Lok Sabha elections, the attendance at the rally was proof that Congress will bounce back.
“People are now seeing the divisive politics of the BJP. This is just the beginning. There are nationwide protests against all their policies. Look at the Kashmir decision, the citizenship bill, the economic slowdown and even the safety of women. People are coming out on the roads and protesting,” said Dishal, from Kerala.
Seventy six-year-old Pokhar Ram, a farmer from Pali district in Rajasthan, said farmers have been distressed for many years now.
“Many farmers in our state are buried in debt. This a government of industrialists, and poor people do not feature in their agenda,” Ram said.