Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday told members of the Indian American community that India is currently experiencing a “fight” between two different ideologies and exuded confidence that all opposition parties are joining hands for an “alternative vision” of the country to that of the ruling BJP.
Making his last public appearance during his two-day visit to the US Capitol, Gandhi said that when he meets the non-Congress opposition parties, he has always emphasised that it is very important that they fight unitedly.
“Lots of media people like to sort of make BJP larger than life, RSS larger than life. Please look at the Himachal (Pradesh) election. Please look at the Karnataka election. We are going to have elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan,… see those elections and you will see that the Congress Party is more than capable of defeating the BJP,” a confident-looking Gandhi told members of the Indian American community at a reception hosted in his honour on Friday.
“We get together and normally fight as individual parties, but fight by placing an alternative vision for India on the table. And that is what we are working on. All the opposition parties are in discussion, are in conversation. And I would like to tell you that that discussion is moving forward very effectively,” Gandhi said while addressing a diverse group of Indian Americans gathered from in and around Washington DC.
Gandhi told the Indian Americans that they would be aware of the “fight” that is taking place in India.
“It’s an ideological fight between two visions of our country. One is Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a peaceful, nonviolent, truthful, humble region of our country. A vision where all our people, regardless of which religion they come from, which caste they come from, and which language they (speak), people are equal stakeholders in the progress of our nation. A vision where every single Indian feels free to express himself and views themselves as part of our nation,” he said.
“On the other side, there is a vision championed by RSS of divisive arrogance, non-scientific aggressiveness. This is the fight between the two. These are not new ideas. They’re not new ideologies. This fight has been taking place for many, many years. I would say thousands of years. These two visions of India have engaged with each other; I’m pretty confident that it is in India’s nature to be loving and affectionate. It is not in our nature to be violent and hateful. So, I’m confident that’s the vision of (Mahatma) Gandhi,… is going to triumph,” he said.
Gandhi said that the BJP has captured institutions.
“They have the media. They have captured institutions. They put pressure on all the institutions. They threaten people… So, their voice is more heard. But don’t underestimate the voice of reason, the voice of affection. The voice of love in our country. It’s also very very powerful,” he said.
The Congress leader said that the Indian Americans are the country’s ambassadors in the United States.
“I couldn’t say enough about how you made our country proud, about the work that you’ve done here, about what you have done for the image of our country, what you have done to build the bridge between the United States and India. I think this is a very important relationship and it needs to be deepened. As I’ve told friends in the United States, we have a defence relationship, but we need to broaden the relationship, make it broader,” he said.