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BJP has captured India's entire institutional framework: Rahul
New Delhi, April 3, 2021
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday claimed that the ruling BJP has made a "wholesale capture" of the entire "institutional framework" of the country, and this was preventing a "fair political fight".
"There is a wholesale capture of the institutional framework of this country and absolute financial and media dominance."
"To fight elections fairly, there is need of institutional structures, a judicial system that protects, a media that is reasonably free, also financial parity, and there is need of a whole set of structures that actually allow to operate a political party.
"We are in a paradigm where the institutions that are supposed to protect us, do not protect us anymore. And the institutions that are supposed to support a fair political fight, don't do so anymore," he said in an online interaction with Nicholas Burns, the Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a former US Under Secretary of State.
This was their second such interaction after one during the height of the pandemic.
On the electoral losses of his party, the Congress leader said: "Not just the Congress, the BSP, the SP, the NCP are not winning elections."
To bolster his allegation, he gave the example of the Assam EVM row, saying: "BJP candidates are running around with voting machines in their cars. But there is nothing going on in national media."
Gandhi also said: "When we were in the government, we had a feedback system which enabled effective governance. That feedback system is not there now. The current regime's style of governance is centralised... it's the idea that believes that centralised power understands everything."
At the begining, he said that the assassination of his father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 changed him.
He also said that he had always been accustomed to an "environment" of public service, and had been brought up with the idea that you cannot tolerate injustice.
To a question by Burns about his family's engagement in public service and if he had always assumed, when young, that some form of public service would be his life's work, Gandhi, the Lok Sabha member from Kerala's Wayanad, said: "First of all, families are unique in a way. So, I guess I don't see it (my family) as a unique family, I just see it as a family that just happens to go through certain things."
He said that he grew up in the environment of public service.
"When I was small, there was this underlying thing of a sense of trying to understand India, what is going on, what are the forces at play and some of these things on how it works. In this sense I was embedded in it and I saw it from the beginning," he said.
Discussing the assassination of his father in Tamil Nadu in the run-up to the 1991 general elections, he said: "Of course, there were certain events that sort of pushed me... in a way, my father's assassination was one of them that developed that sense that I felt that my father was fighting some particular forces and he was wronged. And so as a son, that of course, had an effect."
"And also I was brought up when I was small and young with the idea that you cannot tolerate injustice.
"And that's something what I have been trained from beginning. If I see this up, it rattles me up and I get agitated and it doesn't matter to whom the injustice is being done. And if that injustice is going with somebody whom I am not very fond of, that gets me going. So those are the type of things," he said.