When a section of the audience suggested support in the fight against the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Gandhi underlined it was India’s internal problem
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said a “very strong” resistance was building against the ruling dispensation while calling a new imagination central to the fight against the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Speaking at an interaction at the independent policy institute Chatham House in London on Monday evening, Gandhi said his Bharat Jodo Yatra, which covered India’s entire length from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, brought about a new dimension to the resistance.
“Building a new imagination is central to fighting against the BJP. Do not underestimate the resistance that is very strong and very powerful and it can do wonders,” said Gandhi, who is on a week-long visit to the United Kingdom (UK).
When a section of the audience suggested support in the fight against the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Gandhi underlined it was India’s internal problem. “…the solution will come from inside and not outside.”
He said the scale of Indian democracy means it is a global public good whose impact is way beyond India’s boundaries. “If democracy collapses in India, the democracy in the world will suffer a fatal blow.”
Gandhi reiterated his concern over the centralisation of power and wealth in India. He added Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office has a “huge concentration of power” and a select group of industrialists has massive wealth.
He said the Prime Minister demonetised ₹500 and 1000 currency notes one evening in 2016 but the country’s central bank did not know anything about it. “Similarly, the GST [Goods and Services Tax] was rolled out. It is a dangerous trend.”
He added India needs a new model of governance as a huge transition and massive migration of people was taking place in the country.
Gandhi compared the India-China border tensions with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “If you look at Ukraine…Russians said we do not accept your relationship with Europe and the US. In my view, that is happening on the borders of our country. China is threatening… [us over] such a relationship with the US.”
Gandhi said he cited this at a meeting of a parliamentary committee but external affairs minister S Jaishankar told him that it is a ludicrous idea. He underlined the need for listening. “…In the 21st century, chaos is very powerful. Listening is more powerful than speaking.”
The BJP has criticised Gandhi over his repeated comments in the UK about democratic backsliding in India. Union minister Anurag Thakur on Monday accused Gandhi of “maligning India” on foreign soil. “India’s democracy is strong, people are strong and the armed forces are strong. India has a leadership that is strong and farsighted and world leaders have said they believe in India and they trust Modi.”