Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday criticised the Narendra Modi government for its economic policies and “politics of divide and polarisation” while addressing the students of the prestigious University of California, Berkeley.
“The government's economic policy of demonetisation and hastily implemented the GST has caused tremendous pressure on the economy. Demonetisation has led to a decline in economic growth, said Gandhi while speaking on ‘India at 70: Reflections on the Path Forward’.”
Without naming the government, Gandhi also spoke the recent incidents of mob violence and attacks on journalists.
“I understand what violence does, violence against anybody is wrong. Hatred, anger and violence can destroy us, the politics of polarisation is dangerous... Liberal journalists are being shot, people are being lynched. These incidents are making millions feel that they have no future in their country,” he said, reported NDTV.
"Violence can never be justified. I will do everything in my power to help the Sikhs get justice. I lost my father, my grandmother to violence, if I don't understand violence then who will?" Gandhi said.
The Congress vice-president said the UPA government had “broken the backbone of terrorism in Kashmir, but terrorism made a comeback soon after the NDA government came to power.
“He (PM Modi) massively opened up space for the terrorists in Kashmir, and you saw the increase in violence. When we started, terrorism was rampant in Kashmir, when we finished there was peace, we had broken the back of terrorism.”
Gandhi, however, accepted that the Congress
had lost touch with people in the run-up to 2014 election that saw the Bharatiya Janata Party sweep the polls.
“Somewhere around 2012, a certain arrogance crept into the Congress and they stopped having a conversation with people,” Gandhi, who is on a two-week tour of the United States, said.
Gandhi hit back at those who have accused him of reaping the benefits of "dynasty politics", and justified the charges against him, saying that the entire nation is running on it and hence, one should not go only after him.
Responding to a poser at the university, Rahul didn't even spare the Ambanis and the Bachchans and said that in every field, there are numerous dynasts.
"Most of the country runs like this. Akhilesh Yadav is a dynast. Stalin is a dynast. Dhumal's son a dynast. Even Abhishek Bachchan is a dynast. Also Mr. Ambani. That's how India runs. Don't go after me," he said.
Rahul even said that there are many people in the party, who are not a part of the dynasty politics.
During his trip to the US, Gandhi will also engage with the Indian diaspora with the purpose of making them a part of India’s development.
From San Francisco, Gandhi is scheduled to travel to Los Angeles. He is likely to visit Aspen Institute to interact with the think-tank community.
In Washington DC, the Congress vice-president is scheduled to interact with members of the think-tank community, political leaders and government officials.
Gandhi is also scheduled to travel to Princeton University before his final address to overseas Indians in New York.
(With agency inputs)