Praising the Indian community in the UAE for making UAE and Dubai what they are today, and the NRI community as a whole for the position India has reached today, Congress president Rahul Gandhi called on non-resident Indians (NRIs) to take a more proactive role in solving some of India’s biggest problems. He was addressing a jam-packed gathering of thousands at the Dubai International Cricket stadium on January 11 evening. A crowd of nearly 20,000 listened to his impassioned speech outside the stadium for lack of space.
Blaming Demonetisation and faulty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, Rahul Gandhi said, “Over a billion people in India are facing a crisis of unemployment.”
Choosing his words well at a cricket stadium, the Congress president said, “We have to tackle this problem not on the back foot but on the front foot.”
He identified farmers’ distress as the other most important problem facing the country, reminding the people that many of their parents or grandparents were agriculturists. He sought the help of the NRIs who had access to technology and knowledge to fix the farm sector. “We want to transform Indian agriculture. We want a second Green Revolution. We want people here to come back home and work with us,” he said.
In an obvious pivot to the NRI community which had been one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biggest strengths in the run-up to the 2014 general elections, Rahul Gandhi said, “Our manifesto will have a plan for the future of India. It is not one of the Congress. It is not of one individual. It is one of millions and billions of Indians. I want your voice in the manifesto of the Congress.”
“You are India’s biggest strength,” he said.
The Congress president’s address was filled with subtle but not-lost jibes at the autocratic and arrogant functioning of Narendra Modi. Referring to the Ruler of Dubai, Rahul Gandhi said his impression of His Highness was that he was a leader with true “humility” and “No arrogance”. He likened the Dubai Ruler to “a leader who listens to, a leader who appreciates not just people of this country but millions who came to build this country.”
Rahul Gandhi said that for a nation to be great, “the central value is humility and tolerance. Tolerance for various ideas, different religions, different communities, different ways of doing things. This year in the UAE, it is the year of tolerance. And I am sad to say that here it is the year of tolerance and back home, it is four and a half years of intolerance.”
Earlier in the day, addressing working class people at the Jabel Ali Labour Colony, the Congress president said, “Main yahan apne mann ki baat kahne nahi aaya hun..main yayan aapke mann ki baat sunne aaya hun (I have not come here to speak my mind, I have come to listen to your heart)," he said in his address at the Jabel Ali labour colony. He said the Congress was going to raise the problems faced by Indian labourers in Dubai.