Rahul Gandhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi holds policies of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government reponsible for why Indian democracy is under threat. He made these comments while addressing an audience of Indian and British journalists in London. Rahul who is currently touring UK, was interacting with the Indian Journalists’ Association Sunday.
“The structures of our democracy are under brutal attack,” Gandhi said. He added, “The media, the judiciary, parliament, all (are) under attack. We are fighting institutional structures. RSS and BJP have taken over institutions that are supposed to remain neutral.”
Gandhi said his Bharat Jodo Yatra was prompted and inspired by his desire to take his message to the people of India, as many figures had done throughout Indian history.
Yatra is in India’s DNA
“Gandhiji’s is the most remembered and the most effective yatra in recent memory. But the idea of a yatra is a much older idea in India. It’s in the DNA of our country, which includes suffering a little bit of pain and doing it over a long distance and time. The idea is discovering the country, listening to the voice of the country; understanding yourself, introspecting, doing something that is little difficult, painful. It’s embedded in our historical tradition. Guru Nanak ji, Buddha Mahavir have walked across the country,” he said.
Rahul added, “BJP also had Rath Yatra, there is a philosophical difference between these two yatras. It sort of hits the ideological difference between us and the BJP. Centre of that yatra was a rath, which is a symbol of ‘king’. Ours was mobilising and embracing people. There was an equal mobilisation of people. There was no rath, there was no talking down to people.”
Rahul also said with his yatra he was “expressing” his voice when the government was suppressing voices across the socio-political spectrum. He cited the recent tax ‘surveys’ at the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai. “With suppression of voice, an example is the BBC. But the BBC is just one element. The BBC has found out just now but it has been going on in India for the past nine years. Everybody knows that. Journalists are intimidated, they are attacked, they are threatened and journalists who toe the line of the government are rewarded. It’s part of a pattern and I don’t expect anything different. This is the new idea of India.”
Gandhi also took questions on the recent controversies surrounding billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani.
Adani wins every auction
“Mr. Adani seems to win every auction he takes part in. He doesn’t need any experience in the business. For example, he will take over the most profitable airports in the country, having never worked in the airport industry,” he said.
Gandhi’s comments were similar to what he said during an address to his alma mater, Cambridge University, earlier this week. He had then suggested that he, along with other opposition figures, had been placed “under surveillance”.
Asked why he chose to criticise India in a foreign land, Gandhi said: “Mr. Modi himself has said that nothing has been done in the last 60-70 years. He has insulted every Indian and their grandparents by saying that India has lost a decade, and he said all this on a foreign soil.”
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