'Fascism already there... Parliament no longer working': Rahul to Italian daily

BySaptarshi Das
Feb 21, 2023 01:59 PM IST

Gandhi acknowledged the polarisation between Hindus and Muslims but stressed the situation was not as dire as the media portray it

In a rare interview with the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi opened up on his experience during the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', spoke of how Prime Minister Narendra Modi could be beaten in the next election, remembered fond memories with grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi and answered why he was still single at 52.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (Hindustan Times)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (Hindustan Times)

Sharing the learnings that the Congress leader attained post-completion of the yatra, Gandhi claimed that the journey was more like a ‘Tapasya’ (sacrifice).

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, “… everyone's limits, myself included, are far beyond what we think. In Sanskrit, the oldest language in the world, there is a word, Tapasya , which is difficult for a Western mind to understand. Someone translates it with ‘sacrifice’, ‘patience’, but the meaning is different: to generate heat. The march is an action that generates warmth, makes you look inside yourself, makes you understand the extraordinary resilience of the Indians,” Gandhi said.

Asked if polarisation between Hindus and Muslims existed, Gandhi acknowledged the fact but stressed that the situations were not as dire as portrayed by the media under the aegis of the government and was more of a tool to distract people from more harrowing real issues like “poverty, illiteracy, inflation, the post-covid crisis of small, indebted entrepreneurs and landless farmers”.

On a question about India and fascism, Gandhi said, “Fascism is already there. Democratic structures collapse. Parliament is no longer working. I haven't been able to speak for two years; as soon as I speak they take my microphone off. The balance of powers is off. Justice is not independent. Centralism is absolute. The press is no longer free.”

On a question, if Prime Minister Narendra Modi could be defeated in the next election, the Congress leader proffered confidence in the Opposition unity and said the Bharatiya Janata Party would 100 per cent be defeated if the other parties came together.

“… it's sure he (PM Modi) can be beaten. Provided you oppose a vision: not linked to the right or the left, but to peace and union. Fascism is defeated by offering an alternative. If two visions of India confront each other in the vote, we will be able to prevail,” according to Rahul.

He. however, avoided commenting on the Russia-Ukraine war citing that it was a foreign policy matter, but he still called for “peaceful solutions”.

Shedding light on his views on India-China relations, the former Congress president said, “Of peaceful competition. I don't think the West can be competitive with China on an industrial level, especially in low-value-added production. India can and should be. For the resilience of her people.”

When asked about his relations with India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the Wayanad MP claimed that he never knew him but considered Nehru as his "guide".

Gandhi, however, said he was his grandmother and former PM Indira Gandhi’s favourite.

Sharing a tale of their (Rahul – Indira) strong bond, Gandhi said, “I hated spinach and peas. But my father Rajiv, was very strict and wanted me to finish everything. Then my grandmother would open the newspaper and tell me: Rahul, read here. It was the agreed signal hidden by the newspaper - I spilled the peas or spinach on her plate.”

Gandhi even shared that his grandmother was sure of her death, and she had even warned him personally about the same while requesting him to not cry when the day arrived… "at least not in public".

The Congress leader made another shocking claim that Rajiv Gandhi too was aware that his demise was near and said, "I don't know if he knew it was the Tamil Tigers who would kill him. But he felt that a concentration of energies, interests and forces had arisen which would have cost him his life."

Gandhi, however, rejected claims that he was afraid of his life too. "It's not a matter of fear. I do what I have to do."

He also stated that he would like to have kids, but he was unsure why he was still unmarried at 52.

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