Delivering the keynote address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2018, Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party regime saying it dislikes thinkers like journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh who was shot dead last year and others who are sacked merely for criticising the Prime Minister.
NEW DELHI (IANS) — In a blistering attack on the Narendra Modi government, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said it has gone into a war with its own people imposing a single suffocating ideology on 1.3 billion Indians.
Delivering the keynote address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2018, here, Gandhi lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party regime saying it dislikes thinkers like journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh who was shot dead last year and others who are sacked merely for criticising the Prime Minister.
“What we see today in India is defaming, a maligning of the Indian imagination. The Indian government has gone into war with its own people because it wants to impose one ideology on 1.3 billion of us.
“It wants to impose one singular suffocating memory on our 1.3 billion people,” said Gandhi in his scathing criticism of the Modi rule.
“What is the nature of the war, farmers are committing suicide by the thousands. Economy is decimated, rupee is on its knees, petrol is at an all-time high, the stock market is imploded, 12 lakh crore in NPAs and the banking system is jammed shut. Unemployment is at a 20-year high.
“Unorganised sector has been decimated as a result of the demonetisation and extremely complex multilayered GST. Millions and millions of small and medium business have been wiped out. Public confidence is in tatters,” he said castigating the government’s policies.
What is the nature of the war, farmers are committing suicide by the thousands. Economy is decimated, rupee is on its knees, petrol is at an all-time high, the stock market is imploded, 12 lakh crore in NPAs and the banking system is jammed shut. Unemployment is at a 20-year high
He said peoples’ aspiration was turning into anger — Dalits and tribals agitating across the country and there are vicious attacks on the minorities.
“Our friends in the media are sacked because they criticised the Prime Minister, Gauri Lankesh is shot dead because of what she wrote.
“Fresh thinking is unwelcome, in fact, forget about fresh thinking they dislike thinkers — (former Reserve Bank of India Governor) Raghu Ram Rajan, (Nobel laureate) Amartya Sen…the list goes on.
Gandhi said “institutions are attacked, Supreme Court judges are compelled to go public because they feel intimidated and in the same breath they speak of Judge B.H. Loya (a CBI judge who died under mysterious circumstances in 2014), they speak of their fear”.
He said the sole qualification of choosing Vice Chancellors to lead the country’s top universities was that they subscribe to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology.
India today was “burning”, Gandhi said, while the government was only talking about its slogans like — Make in India and Clean India, which he said have translated into zilch.
“People in charge are convinced that they have a monopoly on knowledge, only they understand and no one else anything about India or the Indians’ dreams,” he said.
Reciting lines from Rabindranath Tagore’s “Where the mind is Without Fear”, Gandhi called upon people to reimagine the India where all Indians were free and not discriminated against.
Modi Govt doesn’t believe in conversation
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the Narendra Modi government has a sense of “monopoly” over everything it deals with and does not believe in having any form of conversation.
He said his attempts at making conversation with the government have always been shunned.
Had these conversations not “snubbed at” and taken place, the GST (Goods and Services Tax) could have been better implemented and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir might not deteriorated.
“The people in charge are convinced that they have a monopoly on knowledge. They are convinced that they are the only ones who understand. That no one in this country understands anything about India or the dreams of its people except them. What is a country if there isn’t a conversation,” he said.
Lambasting the Modi regime for its “ridiculous” demonetisation and GST move that broke the backbone of traders, Gandhi said the nation cannot be run in the absence of conversation with the stakeholders.
“This dispensation believes knowledge lies with them, understanding lies with them alone. They don’t believe that they need to have a conversation.
“There needs to be a conversation that provides the vision going forward. And that is exactly what is missing,” Gandhi said.
Regarding his failed attempts at holding a dialogue with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the issue of Kashmir, Gandhi said: “Many a times I have attempted conversation, but have been snubbed.
“Once Jaitley came to see me and I started a conversation on Kashmir, this was before the violence started up. I said we have a serious problem coming up in the Valley and his answer was ‘No, there isn’t’,” said Gandhi.
He also said that Aadhaar under the UPA was a means to simplify people’s life as against the unique identification scheme under the Modi regime which has been turned into a sort of “surveillance” tool.
“The difference between them (the Bharatiya Janata Party) and us is that we trust people, we believe knowledge lies with eveyone,” he said.
Gandhi also wondered why his visits to religious places “infuriated” the BJP.
“My temple visits have nothing to do with Hindutva. I can’t understand why I can’t go to a temple or a church or a gurudwara. BJP thinks only they can go to temples.
“They have a sense of monopoly in everything they deal with, monopoly on all institutions, on who goes to temples — that is their nature,” added Gandhi