Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of destroying India’s image as a country of peace and harmony and urged the youth not to let their voices be suppressed.
Addressing a youth rally in Jaipur, the former Congress president blamed the BJP-led government at the Centre of creating an image for the country that deterred investors. He claimed that one crore people lost their jobs in the past year, while the Modi government had promised the creation of two crore new ones.
Gandhi said the growth rate of 9 per cent reached during the UPA term has now declined to 5 per cent — and claimed it is only 2.5 per cent if measured in the same manner in which it was during the UPA period. He said Narendra Modi has not studied economics, claiming that the Prime Minister (PM) could not understand the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Gandhi also criticised the PM on demonetisation, when high-value currency notes were withdrawn.
He urged the youth not to let their voice be suppressed and ask questions on employment and on the country’s future. Gandhi said wherever Modi goes, he talks of CAA, NRC and NPR but not on real issues like unemployment.
But the Congress leader made no direct comment on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) — or on the recent protests, many of them involving young people, on these issues.
The Jaipur public meeting was billed ‘Yuva Aakrosh Rally’, focusing on youth anger over unemployment and the state of the economy. “Narendra Modi has destroyed India’s image and reputation in the world. Today, India is known as the rape capital but Narendra Modi does not talk about this,” he said at the rally at Jaipur’s Ramniwas Garden.
He said when the youth raise questions over unemployment and ask Modi why he “destroyed” India’s image, you are answered with bullets and are suppressed. He said India’s biggest asset and strength are the youth, who are capable of competing with China but the government is wasting this asset.
Rahul Gandhi suggested that the US, Europe and other regions are looking at India as a manufacturing hub, as a balance to China. India’s youth have the potential. They can compete with China. The companies which are there in China want to invest in India. But they say that earlier peace prevailed in India but today there is violence, he said.
They say that the government of India is spreading violence and how can an investment be made in an environment where there is no surety for tomorrow, he asked. He said that in the past, the world saw India as a country where there was harmony.
People used to say, look at Pakistan, where there is an environment of violence. Pakistan is a divided nation but India takes everyone along — and this image of India has been tarnished by Modi, he said. Gandhi charged Modi of extending benefits to a handful of industrialists, ignoring farmers and the youth.
The first thing he did was benefiting the top 15 industrialists — only 15 and not 100 or 200, Gandhi said. Urging balance, he said Modi should have waived farm loans as well.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief minister and state Congress president Sachin Pilot were among the Congress leaders who attended the rally.