'Officers told me to be careful on phone as…': Rahul Gandhi at Cambridge

Mar 03, 2023 08:31 AM IST

As Rahul Gandhi talked about his Bharat Jodo Yatra at Cambridge University, he said the idea started because the democracy in India is under attack and opposition leaders are silenced, surveilled.

Speaking about Indian democracy under attack, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in his Cambridge University speech said a large number of political leaders have Pegasus on their phone."I myself had Pegasus on my phone. I've been called by Intelligence officers who say please be careful of what you say on phone as we are recording the stuff," Rahul Gandhi said as he started talking about the genesis of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Read | Rahul Gandhi calls for new thinking to promote democratic environment globally

Rahul Gandhi delivered a lecture at Cambridge University on Learning to Listen in the 21st Century..
Rahul Gandhi delivered a lecture at Cambridge University on Learning to Listen in the 21st Century..

As Rahul Gandhi was asked to list a few good policies of the BJP government, he said, “If you fundamentally disagree with the foundation of something...I mean I could think of something like giving gas cylinders to women, bank accounts is not a bad thing. But that's not the point. In my view, Mr Narendra Modi is destroying the architecture of India. I am not bothered about the two-three good things that he is doing if he is blowing our country to smithereens. And I think that's what he is doing.”

Recounting how the yatra changed him, Rahul Gandhi said the interactions with the people who held his hand during the yatra trusting him as a brother and confided in him changed him as a politician, his perspective. Read | Rahul Gandhi's new look at Cambridge University; Bharat Jodo beard now trimmed

As the yatra entered Kashmir, Rahul Gandhi said he was asked by the security officials to stop walking as hand grenades will be thrown at him. "So I will become responsible for the 120 people walking with me. I talked to my people and told them that I wanted to continue the walk. We continued walking and suddenly the National Flag was everywhere," Rahul Gandhi said.

"As I was walking, a guy came up and showed me a few men standing nearby. He told me they are militants. I thought I was in trouble because in that situation militants would kill me. But they did not do anything because this is the power of listening," Rahul Gandhi said.

On the idea of America

On the idea of America, Rahul Gandhi said the ideal of individual freedom is very deep in America. "Anybody can come to America and dream the American dream. I was educated there and was surprised at how open it was," Rahul Gandhi said sharing an anecdote of the time shortly after his father Rajiv Gandhi's death when his ID was not checked at an airport. "I thought this is an amazing place. I came here a few months ago and they let me through the airport without checking my ID. They believe in me," Rahul Gandhi said adding that it was of course before 9/11 and the situation changed after that

"Inside America, they will trust you and protect you. Outside of the country, they can sometimes do bad things," the Congress leader said.

On the idea of China

Rahul Gandhi said he is not an expert on China but studied a lot about China and spoken to senior leaders. "A senior gentleman of the Communist Party once told me that if China can't harness the Yellow River, there is a disorder in China. This is a completely different way of thinking about a country that I never heard from any politician. So China looks at energy, flow, and processes and then tries to shape them. If you use this metaphor, you can see what Belt and Road is," Rahul Gandhi said.

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