Manama: In his first address to the Indian diaspora after taking over as Congress president, Rahul Gandhi on Monday, while speaking in Bahrain, hit out at the Narendra Modi government and assured a “new shining Congress party” in the next six months.
He also exuded confidence that the Congress would defeat the BJP in 2019 General Election as it had the strength and capability to do so while noting that the Bharatiya Janata Party merely scraped through in recent elections in Gujarat, which is its fortress.
Gandhi assured the NRI community here that he would give a “new shining Congress party” in the next six months, hinting that there will be dramatic changes in the organisation, in which the people will believe in and trust.
Noting that there was a “serious problem” in the country, he urged NRIs help solve the problem and be a part of this restructuring.
“Instead of removing poverty and creating jobs, what we see instead is a rise in the forces of hate and division,” he said. , while calling upon NRIs to help fight them.
He said: “Tragically the conversation in our country today is not about jobs, healthcare or education. The only thing India talks about is what you are allowed to eat, who are allowed to protest and what we can say or rather what we cannot say.”
“India today is free, but once again it is under threat. There are two clear threats facing our country today. The first is our government’s inability to provide jobs for our people. Our main competitor China produces 50,000 jobs every 24 hours. India currently produces 400 jobs in the same amount of time.”
“It is an important figure. What China does in two days, it takes India one year to do. These are not my figures, these are figures of the government of India given in the Parliament. Job creation in India is at an eight-year-low,” Gandhi said in his address at an event organised by Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin.
“New investments have been lowest in 13 years. Bank credit growth has sunk to a 63-year low. To make matters worse, many in the Indian diaspora have lost hard-earned money because of arbitrary decisions like demonetisation. It landed a crippling blow to India’s overall economic growth. The fact is that India can simply not afford this,” he added.
Underlining India was the second-most populous country with 30,000 new youngsters coming daily into India’s job market, he said that not providing education and jobs to these youngsters was “a recipe for disaster”.
“The government’s failure to creating jobs is resulting in tremendous anger and unrest in India. The youth are asking a very simple question, what are we going to do in future. This anger is visible in the streets and is rising rapidly,” he said, adding the “tragedy” is that instead of focusing on what is critical issues like poverty alleviation, job creation and building a world-class education system, “we see instead rise in the forces of hatred and division”.
Addressing NRIs, the Congress president gave his vision for the country, saying his top three priorities would be to create jobs, good health infrastructure and an education system.
“Instead of uniting people of all religions together, the government is busy creating anger due to lack of jobs into hatred between communities,” he said.
“There is a serious problem in the country and you can solve this problem. I have come here to build that bridge,” he told the gathering while seeking their support in helping change India.
He said the Congress has the strength to fight the BJP and claimed it will defeat the ruling party in 2019.
“Congress party knows how to fight. It defeated the British. It changed India and helped the country stand on its feet with the help of people.”
“This party has so much power that it will defeat the BJP in 2019,” he said on the party’s plans for 2019 polls.
On his vision for the party, he said he admits his mistakes as well as those of the Congress.
“We will have to present a new Congress, a new vision that is something you trust. You will see a dramatic change in the Congress party, you would believe you can trust,” he said.
The Congress chief, who addressed NRIs from various parts of the Middle East as well as other countries, said he has not come to tell them anything but “to ask for your help. We need you to fight these forces of anger and hatred”.
Noting that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and BR Ambedkar were also NRIs, he said, “Our ancestors needed you in 1947 to protect the idea of India and I have come to seek your help to transform India now”.
Gandhi is here as a state guest of Bahrain.
He said that Indian politics is “quite a strange experience” and noted that signalling by politicians in the country is “wrong” which leads to incidents of hate and violence against people.
He said when such crimes take place, the government is silent on them and that should not happen.
“Today the problem is that the signalling is wrong. There is violence against somebody, there is silence. There shouldn’t be silence. The government of India should make its position clear. We cannot imagine an India that does not belong to all of us,” he said.
Stressing that the grand old party has experience and youth, he said, “we will change to give you a new shining Congress party”.
On “propaganda” against him on social media, he said, the truth will come out.
The Congress party, he said is “the most tested ideology” that “brings people together and does not create any division”.