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From hugging PM Modi to losing his family to violence: Six things Rahul Gandhi said in Germany

Congress president Rahul Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not protecting vulnerable sections and refusing to accept problems in job creation.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2018 15:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Rahul Gandhi in Germany,Narendra Modi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi at Bucerius Summer School in Hamburg, Germany.(PTI Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday spoke on a range of issues, including India’s foreign policy and the incidents of lynchings across the country, at the Bucerius Summer School in the German city of Hamburg.

Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not protecting vulnerable sections and refusing to accept problems in job creation. Advocating for non-violence, the Congress leader opened up about losing two members of his family.

A look at six topics Rahul Gandhi spoke about in Germany:

On hugging PM Modi in Parliament

Gandhi said that some people in his party didn’t like his act of hugging the PM and quipped that now Opposition leaders are sceptical about him. “The basic idea is that if someone hates you, responding their hate with hate is foolish as it won’t solve any problem,” Gandhi said. “Some of my party colleagues told me you should not have hugged him. But I disagreed,” he said amid applause.

Non-violence

Rahul Gandhi said he and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were not happy after his father’s (Rajiv Gandhi) killer, LTTE chief Prabhakaran was killed, as they felt “the violence inflicted upon him had impacted others, including his children”.

“My grandmother (Indira Gandhi) and my father (Rajiv Gandhi) were both killed. So, I have suffered violence. I am talking actually from experience. The only way you can move forward after violence is forgiveness. There is no other way. And to forgive you have to understand what exactly happened and why it happened.”

Support for weaker sections

Referring to incidents of lynchings, Gandhi said people in India were angry as the Modi-led NDA government was weakening support structures for weaker sections.

“They (Centre) do not feel that every single person in India should have access to fruits of transformation. They feel that tribal communities, poor farmers, Dalit, should not get the same benefits as the elite of the country gets. We feel everybody took the risk, everybody should get the reward,” Gandhi said.

“The other thing they have done is they have started attacking the support structures that were designed to help certain groups of people,” he added.

Risk of excluding minorities, Dalits

Rahul Gandhi said the incidents of lynching in India were due to anger emanating from joblessness and “destruction” of small businesses due to demonetization and the “poorly implemented” GST by the ruling BJP.

The Congress leader traced the creation of Islamic State terror group to warn against a similar situation at home if people are excluded from the development process. “It is very dangerous in the 21st century to exclude people. If you don’t give people a vision in the 21st century somebody else will give them one.

“And that’s the real risk of excluding large number of people from our development processes,” he said, accusing the BJP government of excluding tribals, Dalits and minorities from the development process.

Employment, demonetisation

Gandhi said welfare measures of the previous UPA government -- such as the right to food and the right to guaranteed employment -- had been weakened and the money going into these schemes “is going into the hands of very few people, the largest corporates in the country”.

Gandhi alleged that demonetisation carried out by Modi had taken away lakhs of jobs as it had destroyed cash flow of small and medium businesses. “China produces 50,000 jobs every 24 hours, India only 450,” Gandhi said, adding that bad implementation of GST had let to closure of thousands of businesses.

Foreign policy

Rahul Gandhi said playing a balancing role between the US and China should be one of India’s key foreign policy goals. “India has a deep relation with the US. But India can’t ignore the fact that China is growing extremely fast and we need to balance our position. I think certain values India brings to the table. So, India and Europe’s role would be to balance the narrative,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Aug 23, 2018 09:17 IST