Politics today used to crush people: Rahul Gandhi

The Hindu

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Terms BJP members his brothers and sisters after taking over as Congress president

Amidst celebrations and loud cheers from party workers, Rahul Gandhi formally took charge as Congress president on Saturday at a ceremony on the lawns of the party headquarters.

Watched by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, out-going party president Sonia Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Mr. Gandhi was handed over the certificate of victory.

The 47-year-old Congress leader is the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to occupy the post, taking over from his mother who held the position for 19 years.

Son rise: Rahul Gandhi with his mother Sonia at the Congress function in New Delhi on Saturday.  

Speaking after taking charge, Mr. Gandhi launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, stating that the structures of power attack a person with distortions and lies the moment one stands with the poor. “The Congress took India into the 21st century while the Prime Minister today is taking us backwards, to a medieval past where people are butchered because of who they are, beaten for what they believe and killed for what they eat. This ugly violence shames us in the world. Our country, whose philosophy and history is born out of love and compassion, is tarnished by such horror and no amount of hugs can repair the damage done to this great country. This vision belongs to a time where people did not have the rights and freedoms that have made our country the profound entity it is — a time when people did not have voice, did not have the right to dissent, to disagree, to differ, to be,” he said.
In a not-so-veiled reference to Mr. Modi, Mr. Gandhi said only “one man is the voice of reason” and that “expertise, experience and knowledge is cast aside for personal glory. Foreign policy can lie in tatters so that one man can feel strong and everything is subservient to the leader’s personal image.”

Mr. Gandhi said the current politics in India is “devoid of truth and kindness.”

“Politics belongs to the people; it is their greatest weapon in dismantling the structures that oppress, silence and disempower them. But today, politics is not being used in the service of the people, it is being used to crush them, not to lift them up,” he said.

Often criticised for not being a natural and spontaneous politician, Mr Gandhi revealed another facet. Referring to the bursting of crackers outside the party office, — forcing Sonia Gandhi to pause for a few minutes while delivering her speech — he said, “Once you start a fire, it is very difficult to stop. This is what we are trying to explain to the BJP that once you start a fire, it is very difficult to stop it. They are spreading hate and violence and only we are capable of stopping this hate.”

However, despite the bitter Gujarat campaign, he chose to wear his idealism on his sleeve and called BJP members his brothers and sisters “We consider the BJP our brothers and sisters, even though we do not agree with them. They want an India free of Congress, they want to erase us but the Congress’s inclusion and respect for all Indians extends even to the BJP. We do not fight hate with hate.”

Inviting the youth to make the Congress a ‘grand old young party’, Mr. Gandhi said, “I want the Congress party to become an instrument for dialogue between Indian people — all of us, from all corners of our great country, all religions, all ethnicities, all ages, genders and people — and for our dialogue to always be lead by love and affection.”

Comments on this Article
Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai Sun, December-17-2017, 8:32
India will get freedom on 18th December 2017 ...
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