From Sikh riots to 2019 elections, RaGa speaks out his mind in London

New Delhi: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s overseas tour of Germany and the United Kingdom has been marred in controversy.

Not only did he steer his party clear of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, but also attacked RSS for the second straight day on Friday.

While addressing a gathering at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, Rahul comapared BJP’s ideological parent to the “Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world” and accused it of “changing the nature of India. Earlier on Thursday, while adressing the Indian diaspora at a function, he had said that his party binds the people of India, but the BJP-RSS divide them and spread hatred. He had also accused the RSS of treating women as “second-class citizens”.

Later in the day, the Congress president adressed the students at London School of Economics. Here are the major higlights from his session at the institution:

Lack of job creation ‘a catastrophe’

 Talking about the lack of jobs in India, he said that similar conditions prevail in US and Europe too. “Youth are coming to the cities looking for jobs, but we are not able to provide that” he added. He also highlighted the fact that China creates 50,000 jobs in 24 hours whereas India generates only 450 in the same span.

‘It is our duty to protect the farmer’

On agriculture, Gandhi said that it is our duty to help and protect the farmer. He added that farmers don’t make enough money to survive and termed it as an economic problem. He advocated for MSP, occasional loan waivers and a sensitive approach during calamity. On the productivity front, he emphasised on the introduction of new technology.

‘RSS-BJP will be on the other side’ in 2019

“The next election is going to be pretty straightforward — BJP on one side and the entire Opposition on the other side,” said Rahul. “We need to defend Indian institutions, the idea of one man one vote. It will be clear-cut election where everyone will be on one side and the RSS-BJP will be on the other side,” he added.

Opportunities for congress

Gandhi said that his party needs to bring in the millions of youth who buy the Congress idea and deliver to them an organisation that can work and can empower them to transform India. “To me, the Congress is yours. Gandhiji used to use the word ‘trusteeship’,” he added.

‘2019 is an ideological battle’

“I see this as an ideological battle. we will not ally with anyone ideologically on our platform.”

Impact of agriculture goes ‘beyond the farm’

On being asked about agriculture, Rahul said, “Agriculture is linked with several things in the country. Its impact goes way beyond the farm. The vision that we can separate these things — industry, technology for instance — does not work. The fastest growth in India came in the rural areas. In the UPA period, the growth was in the rural areas because of MNREGA and loan waiver fired off the economy. When this happened, it triggered other aspects of the economy. We have to view this is a connected way.”

On dynastic politics: ‘I am elected’

On dynastic politics, Gandhi said that he is an elected representative. “The term dynasty is not precise. I am actually elected,” he said, in response to a question. “I think what you bring to the table is what is most important.” he added.

‘Need to empower MPs’

“Have you noticed the level of debate in the Indian Parliament? Are you proud of it? Why is it of such low quality? We have hundreds of experienced politicians, but the conversation isn’t what you expect. If you look at the same Parliament in the 50s or 60s, there is a difference. Why?” inquired Rahul.

“The laws are made in the Prime Minister’s office. We need to give the power of making laws to parliamentarians. Then the level of debate will change,” he added.

Rahul on youth empowerment and political funding

While talking about youth empowerment, Gandhi said,”The political system empowers youngsters. But there simply isn’t enough talented, capable youngsters in the system.” On transparency and political funding, he said, “The more transparency, the better.”

Congress’ strategy for upcoming Rajasthan election

On the upcoming Rajasthan elections, Rahul Gandhi said that the Congress is looking at a health-care system and how to reach the young, urban Rajasthani. The party is also looking at small and medium industries and how to empower and create jobs, he added.

‘RTI is being weakened, destroyed’

Rahul Gandhi said that RTI is the sigle effective instrument against corruption in the country. “It is the arrow that goes right into the heart of the bureaucratic machinery,” Gandhi said, while elaborating on the instrument.

Unfortunately, it is being weakened and destroyed. The other two instruments are Lokpal and a decentralisation system, the idea of a Panchayati Raj, he added.