Rahul attacks Modi govt, says it has created two Indias -- one for the extremely rich, the other for the poor
New Delhi, February 2, 2022
Launching a broadside against the Narendra Modi government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today accused it of creating two Indias, one for the extremely rich and the other for the poor, and weakening the country on the economic, security and other fronts.
Participating in the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President for his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on January 31, Gandhi said he was not making such statements in the spirit of criticism but one of "discomfort" with the state of the country. "Take it as a citizen of the country, who is concerned about what is going on," he said as the Treasury benches occasionally sought to disrupt his speech.
"There is now no longer one India. There are two Indias. One India is for the extremely rich people, for those who have immense wealth, for those who have immense power, for those who do not need a job,for those who not need water connections, electricity connections, those who control the heartbeat of the country; and then another India for the poor," he said.
Gandhi began by saying that the President's address, which usually outlines the Government's plans and policies, was silent on the challenges the country was facing and the direction in which the Government proposed to steer the nation.
"Unfortunately, the Presidential address was a long list of things that the Government claims to have done, but didn't really contain the deeper strategic issues that we would have liked to see," he said.
Gandhi went on to speak about the joblessness among the youth of the country and said the Government had failed to create news even as millions had lost their jobs, especially in the medium, small and informal sectors.
He asserted that the Government's programmes such as Make in India would succeed only if the MSME sector was strengthened, stressing that this was something the big companies could not do.
Gandhi said that the country was witnessing the creation of huge monopolies in different sectors, with two groups of companies involved in all the major sectors. "All the wealth is flowing into the hands of a few chosen individuals," he said.
The Congress leader said there had been a 46 per cnet drop in manufacturing jobs in India because the unorganised and the MSME sectors had been "destroyed".
"You are focusing completely on five or ten people. I don't have a problem with that, I don't have a problem with big industries, focus on them, but please realise that they cannot produce jobs for you. Small and medium industries are the only people who can produce jobs for you, that is the reality," he said.
He warned the Government that the poor would not stay silent. "They won't stay quiet. They are watching everything," he said, citing figures to say that 10 individuals in the country own more wealth than 40 per cent of the population put together. He urged the Government to stop pandering to these industrialists, saying that if it did not do so the nation would suffer a huge setback.
Gandhi said there were today two competing visions of India. He said the Constitution described India as a Union of States, which means that people in every part of India had the same rights. "It is a negotiation, it is a conversation, it is a partnership. It is not a kingdom," he said.
"No matter what fantasies you might have, you will never ever rule over the people of the states of India. It has never been done in 3,000 years, never ever. India has always been ruled by conversation and negotiation," he told the ruling BJP.
"The problem is you people are confused. You think that these languages, these cultures, these histories, you think that you can suppress them. You have no idea of history, you have no idea of what you are dealing with," he said. "It is like a bouquet of flowers."
"This is our strength. I learnt from the people of Tamil Nadu, I learnt from the people of Rajasthan. I learnt even from you," he said.
He said the BJP seemed to think that India could be ruled with a stick from the Centre and felt that this "flawed" centralising vision, the vision of a king, had led to the weakening of the country's institutions, the instruments of conversation between the states.
Citing the examples of the recent farmers' agitation and the protests of Tamil Nadu students against the NEET for medical college admissions should that people in the states had no voice in the Centre's framework today. "Only the king has the voice," he said.
"This confused ideology, this confused understanding of India is playing havoc with this country," he remarked and went on to say that the weakening of various institutions like the judiciary and the Election Commission and the alleged use of Israeli spyware against Indian politicians were an attack on the people of the country.
Gandhi said a "particular organization" had captured the institutional framework of the country and was attacking the voice of the different states. "And my fear is that you will get a reaction from that voice," he said.
"You are fiddling with something very, very dangerous and I am advising you to stop because if you do not stop, you will create a problem. The problem has already started, it is not visible to you right now," he said.
"You are disrespecting everybody. You cannot disrespect the people of this country," he said.
Gandhi said the RSS and the BJP were playing with and weakening the foundations of the country as well as the links between the people. Added to this was the problem of a lack of jobs for the youth.
"So today, unlike a decade ago, 15 years ago, India is weak. India today is completely isolated and surrounded," he said, warning of the consequences if neighbours like China and Pakistan come together.
"Do not underestimate what we are facing. We have made huge strategic mistakes in Jammu & Kashmir, we have made huge strategic mistake in our foreign policy," he said.
"It is important as a nation that you listen to what we say, because we have experience, we have understanding. We have people on this side who understand these things. Use us," he said.
"The nation is now at risk from outside, from inside. That is a very dangerous place for a nation to be and I don't like it. Completely isolated on the outside, fighting on the inside, institutions captured, states are not able to speak to each other. This worries me, it frightens me. You are putting this nation, this wonderful nation and its people at huge risk. Stop!" Gandhi added.