Congress Plenary 2018: Over to Rahul Gandhi 

Rahul Gandhi, who took over as President of Congress in December, 2017 is one of the most vocal presidents. Here is a selection of what he has said since December, 2017

Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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NH Web Desk

Excerpts from Rahul Gandhi’s acceptance speech

(December 16, 2017)

Like many Indians across the country, I’m an idealist. I joined politics 13 years ago because of my profound belief in this country, its people and its path ahead. I travelled constantly over the past years and have had the (good) fortune to speak to many of you, and like me, you are also idealists...

However, many of us are disillusioned today by the politics of our times. Because what we see before us is a politics devoid of kindness and truth. Politics belongs to the people, it is their greatest weapon in dismantling the structures that oppress, silence and disempower them...

Today, politics is not being used in the service of the people. It is being used to crush them, not to lift them up...

When I joined politics as a 34-year-old, I came into this world having watched the generation before me fight the structures of oppression, the structures whose very fuel is lies and silence...

When I entered politics 13 years ago, I wished to be a part of the awakening that would transform India at home, by ensuring dignity for all its people, and in the world, where we would step into a role that resonated globally...

Early on, I learned that the moment you challenge the structures of power to stand with the weak, the moment you announce that you stand for the poor, you are attacked and in order to defeat you, they hit you on all fronts. They lie and they distort. Those in power in India today are shaped by the very structures that keep India poor...

On the idea of India

The idea of India that Mahatma Gandhi envisioned was that of an India where everybody is comfortable regardless of religion, community, regardless of state. The idea that anybody coming to India, even the foreigner coming to India, feel comfortable in the country and that idea is being challenged now.

• It is distressing to see that this document, the Constitution of India — the foundation of our country, given to us by the Congress and Ambedkar (Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar) — is under attack. Attacks are being directly and surreptitiously made by senior members of the BJP.

• There is a “very very aggressive and organised attack on the system and on the judiciary. If you speak to the press, if you talk to business people, they will also tell you that we feel intimidated. So, there is a general atmosphere of intimidation.”


On Congress

I represent the Congress party that was born to bring the people of India together, to bring people of all communities, all religions together. This has been our mission from the beginning. And this is why all of us are in politics and this will be our mission till the end. Among the major tasks before us, none is of greater importance for our strength and stability than the task of building up the unity and solidarity of our people.

• India’s success is hugely because of India’s people. However, anybody in this room who thinks that the Congress party is not part of that success…thinks liberalisation wasn’t a success...green revolution was not a success ...needs to write a new book.

• Mahatma Gandhi died protecting minorities. We don’t like India where people are persecuted, where people are being beaten up for what they eat, what they say and what they wear

• What the Congress pledges, it implements them. It does not make any false promise of something it cannot implement. If we come to power, we would implement what we have pledged.

Congress and the BJP

They crush any dissenting voice, we allow the most vulnerable to sing. They defame, we respect and defend; They break, we unite. They light fires, we douse them. They express anger, we spread love. They might control the structures of power, the machinery of silence and fear, but we are the bastion of the people.”

• “Basavanna had said everyone is the same irrespective of their beliefs. Congress follows that philosophy. Modiji often quotes Basavanna, but does exactly the opposite.

• There are two types of governments in the world — one that favours industrialists and the other that serves its poor, one that propagates injustice and the other that works honestly for its people. The Modi government has allocated `55,000 crore for social welfare programmes across the entire country. But half of this amount was spent by the Congress government in Karnataka from state resources alone

• All the BJP-ruled states are witnessing so much of violence against minorities and Dalits. Yet, Modiji doesn’t utter a word. Thousands of crores are being stolen and taken out of the country by people like Nirav Modi. Even then the Prime Minister of our country doesn’t say anything

• The BJP comes to Meghalaya and offers crores of rupees to the churches in the State. Just like they think they can buy some Congress MLAs and form the government , they also think they can come and buy the church, the religion and God.

• What is happening in our country is a web of deceit. The BJP operates on the basic idea that a lie can be used for political benefits. Central idea of the Congress party is the truth - we accept the truth, we work for the truth and we fight for it… That is the difference between us and them.”


Economy

The Economic Survey 2018 says, ‘Acche Din’ are here, except for these minor hiccups: Industrial Growth is (down). Agricultural Growth is (down). GDP Growth is (down) and Job Growth is (down). Don’t worry Be Happy!”

• As this government enters the fag end of its tenure, instead of giving hope, security and economic growth, it has dealt the people only hopelessness, unemployment, fear, hatred and violence.

• We are seeing the biggest migration of rural people in India. We have challenges. Broadly our view is we want a peaceful transition that carries everybody together”

• It is strange the Prime Minister is tutoring the children how to take exams but can’t tell the nation how one Nirav Modi snatched Rs 22,000 crore of people’s money and fled. He should talk about how this loot happened and what he intends to do to protect the banking system.

• Modi’s demonetisation decision forced the people to deposit the entire money into the banks and now the banking system fails. Rs 22,000 crore is looted and the Prime Minister does not utter a word

On Narendra Modi

If you (Modi) keep looking only at the rear-view mirror, you will land in potholes... make mistakes such as demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax (GST)...

• The prime minister is living up to this wonderful image of a great magician who can make thing appear and disappear at the snap of a finger. He has made many things appear and disappear effortlessly. Modiji’s magic can even make democracy disappear from India very soon

• Modi ji constantly refuses to take responsibility.... His friends and cronies are stealing money and he is silent.

• If Sachin Tendulkar would have batted looking at the wicket-keeper, could he have scored a single run? Our Prime Minister is such a cricketer who looks at the wicket-kepeer and does not know from where the ball is coming from.

• Mr. Modi is helping the rich and not the poor. With demonetisation and other means, he helped innumerable rich people turn their black money into white money. The Prime Minister is interested only in waiving loans by corporate companies. He neither understands the problems of farmers nor does he want to help them.

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Published: 17 Mar 2018, 9:00 AM