National News

‘BJP machine of 1,000 guys’ spreads rumours about me, claims Rahul Gandhi

Speaking at an event at UC Berkeley in the US, the Congress scion accused the Narendra Modi government of promoting violence and politics of polarisation.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of running a social media campaign against him. He also blamed being known as a “reluctant politician” on the Bharatiya Janata Party, claiming that the party had spread that rumour.

Gandhi made the statements at an event titled “India at 70: Reflections on the Path Forward” at the University of California in Berkeley, where he was invited to speak.

“There is a BJP machine of about 1,000 guys sitting at computers and telling you about me,” he said. “Realise that there is a tremendous machine. All they do is spread rumours about me. The operation is run by the gentleman running our country,” he said.

Gandhi further accused the Modi government of promoting violence and politics of polarisation. “Hatred, anger and violence can destroy us,” he said. “Liberal journalists are being shot; people are being lynched; Dalits are being killed over suspicion of carrying beef; Muslims are killed over suspicion of eating beef – all this is new in India,” he said.

On demonetisation and GST

The Congress leader said the Modi government’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016 was a “unilateral” move. He said the decision was made without consulting the chief economic adviser, the Cabinet or Parliament.

“Demonetisation imposed a devastating cost [on the country],” Gandhi said. “It cost us 2% loss in the Gross Domestic Product [growth]. The government’s economic policies and the hastily applied Goods and Services Tax can cause tremendous damage.”

Drawbacks on the Congress

Gandhi also commented on the Congress’ shortcomings and what had led to decline of the United Progressive Alliance. “Around 2012, arrogance had crept into the Congress party, and we stopped having conversations with the people,” he said.

He also appeared to deflect from the criticism of dynastic politics in India. “That is how India works,” Gandhi said. “Dynastic politics is a problem in all political parties. Akhilesh Yadav, Stalin and even actor Abhishek Bachchan are dynasts. Even Prem Kumar Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur is a dynast. So don’t go just after me.”

When asked whether he was willing to be the Congress’ prime ministerial candidate, Gandhi said he was “absolutely ready”. “We have an organisational party which decides that, and the process for that is currently on,” he said. “That decision is something the Congress party should make.”

The Congress scion also praised Modi’s oratorical skills, but said the prime minister did not communicate with the people he works with. “Even members of Parliament and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have told me that,” he claimed.

Kashmir and terrorism

Gandhi said he had worked with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as former Union ministers P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He claimed that the UPA administration “broke the back of terror” by 2013, before which terrorism was rampant in the Valley.

“I hugged Manmohan Singh and told him it was one of our biggest achievements,” he said.

Gandhi further said that the People’s Development Party in Kashmir was instrumental in drawing youngsters to politics, but that the BJP had destroyed the party since allying with it. “The prime minister massively opened up space for terrorists in Kashmir, and then you saw an increase in violence,” he added.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

If YOLO is your mantra, get ready to live it the right way

So much to do, so little time!

Carpe Diem! We are a part of the generation that truly knows how to live by those words. We understand the value of everyday and believe that life should be lived in the moment. We fear nothing, except maybe the fear of missing out. We live for an adrenalin rush that keeps us young and makes us feel alive. And what makes this spirit more powerful is that it has captured our collective pulse and has created a refreshed way of life.

Planning for the future has never been our forte, our strength lies more in fuelling our wanderlust and collecting memorable experiences. We love our independence, our freedom of expression and thrive on an ambition of pursuing many passions. How do we keep this spirit alive without letting the rigours of life weigh it down? Maybe it’s time we take a break from seizing the day and pause to look ahead.

Start by making a simple vision board and include all that you want your life to be. Do you dream of sailing across the world or sharing your ideas through your own YouTube channel? Do you see yourself travelling the entire world as a blogger or starting your own café frequented by artists and musicians? Whatever life goals you put down on your vision board can be achieved with determination, passion and a little bit of planning.

Five years ago, IDFC Mutual Fund initiated the conversation on planning in advance for what you might need in the future through the movie ‘One Idiot’. The protagonist of the movie “Bugs Uncle”, enlightened many young Indians about the importance of planning their lives and finances.

Bugs Uncle has returned to once again share his wisdom with the youth and provide a fresh perspective on life. The movie ‘Return of One Idiot’ - an Amole Gupte film and an IDFC MF initiative, shows us how, if we don’t pause for a moment and care to define our future, it’ll lead us down a road none of us wants to visit. And while it’s completely understandable something so far away is tough to think about now, it’s something we shouldn’t neglect either. Watch Bugs Bhargava give you his insights on life in the video below.

Return of One Idiot - An Amole Gupte Film and an IDFC MF Initiative : An IDFC Mutual Fund Investor Awareness Initiative

To know more on how to start a habit of saving and investing, and to learn how to plan your life, join the webinar here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of IDFC Mutual Fund and not by the Scroll editorial team.