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Lok Sabha elections: ‘Have no hatred for PM Modi’, says Rahul Gandhi, then adds a twist

Referring to demonetisation as an injury that the country would have to carry with it forever, he said, “Not much can be done now about notebandi. The damage is already done.”

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 05, 2019 15:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
rahul gandhi,rahul gandhi on demonetisation,demonetisation
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that demonetisation was a disastrous idea.(Manoj Dhaka/HT Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday reiterated his words and said that he had no hatred towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but at the same time called the 2016 demonetisation exercise announced by the PM as a “disastrous idea”.

Rahul Gandhi who was addressing students at a campus interaction in Pune said that demonetisation had a disastrous effect on economy.

“Demonetisation was a disastrous idea. It had a terrible effect on the economy, two per cent of the GDP was lost and resulted in loss of millions of jobs. The economy was jammed shut because of it,” he said.

Referring to demonetisation as an injury that the country would have to carry with it forever, he said, “Not much can be done now about notebandi. The damage is already done.”

Watch: ‘Money for Nyay scheme will not come from middle class’: Rahul Gandhi

Comparing India to China, he said that where China was creating 50,000 jobs every 24 hours, India was losing 27,000 jobs every 24 hours. This he said was because, “We do not respect skill, a person’s capability. There is no link between the universities and businesses. Such a link is needed to help create jobs. Right now universities are functioning in silos. We need to turn the universities into networks. That is how you unlock jobs,” he said.

During the interaction, Rahul Gandhi, dressed in all white and walking up and down the stage, answered questions ranging from the economy to women’s reservation and how to improve the education and healthcare systems in the country.

Answering a question on whether politics can be devoid of love and affection, he said, “I love Narendra Modi. I have no hatred or anger towards him. But he has anger towards me.”

Speaking about the Congress’s proposed Nyay scheme, he said, “The Rs 72,000 will happen. There is plenty of money in the system. We’ve already calculated where the money is going to come from, how its going to happen, the pilot project, the phases in which it will be released, we’ve studied in detail how it will be done.”

He said that there was a need to kickstart the economy and that putting Rs 72,000 in the bank accounts of the poor would help give the economy that much-needed boost. “The moment money is put in people’s hands, they will start buying things, jobs will be created and the economy will revive,” he said.

Answering a question about reservation for women, he said, that once the UPA government came to power in 2019, “we will ensure 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and Vidhan Sabhas. We’ll also ensure 33 per cent jobs are reserved for women.” Directing his answer at the girl student who asked the question, he said that if she was interested in joining politics, she should come and talk to him.

Asked about the Congress’s plans to do away with the NITI Aayog, Rahul Gandhi says, “Planning Commission was a strategic institution. We want an institution that allows us to solve problems at a large scale, that is why we want Planning Commission, for strategic thinking. NITI Aayog is a tactical institution,” he said.

Speaking about the recent air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp at Balakot in Pakistan and who should take credit for it, Rahul said, “The air force should take credit for it. I am against politicisation of the air strikes. I feel uncomfortable when the PM politicises these issues.”

He also agreed that there should be a retirement age and said that 60 years was a good age to retire for a politician.

First Published: Apr 05, 2019 13:37 IST