Akhilesh a dynast, Stalin is a dynast. It happens in India: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul refuses to accept that Congress is dynastic

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Akhilesh a dynast, Stalin is a dynast. It happens in India: Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi


Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday refused to accept suggestions that the Congress is synonymous with dynastic politics, asserting instead that dynasties are a fact of life in India, be it in politics or business.

He also said that the real test of a person was not pedigree but ability to perform.

"Most parties in India have that problem. Mr Akhilesh Yadav is a dynast. Mr Stalin is a dynast... even Abhishek Bachchan is a dynast. So that's what happens in India," he said.

But, he added, there were a large number of people in the Congress Party who were not from dynastic families.

Speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, Gandhi also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of divisive politics, creating space for terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and ruining the economy.

The Congress leader also said he was "absolutely ready" to take up the leadership of the party if the party asked him to do so.

Giving his reasons for the extremely mediocre show by the party at the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi, who also took questions from students at the University, acknowledged that "around 2012" the Congress "stopped having conversations with people". He, however, added that this could be a problem for any party which is in power for 10 years.

"The vision that we laid out in 2004 was designed at best for a 10-year period. And it was pretty clear that the vision that we laid out in 2004 by the time we arrived in 2010-11 was not working anymore," the 47-year-old leader said.

"Somewhere around 2012, and I say this, certain arrogance crept into the Congress party. And they stopped having that conversation."

Attacking Prime Minister Modi for "promoting divisive politics", Gandhi said, "Hatred, anger and violence and the politics of polarisation has raised its ugly head in India today... Liberal journalists being shot, people being lynched because they are Dalits, Muslims killed on suspicion of eating beef, this is new in India and damages India very badly... The politics of hate divides and polarises India making millions of people feel that they have no future in their own country."

"This", he said, "isolates people and makes them vulnerable to radical ideas."

He also criticised the Prime Minister economic policies, accusing him of causing "tremendous damage" to India's economy with "reckless and dangerous" decisions like demonetization and "hastily-applied" GST.

He said the November 8 demonetisation decision was taken without consulting the Chief Economic Advisor and Parliament, which caused tremendous damage to the economy.

Talking about the Kashmir situation, Gandhi accused the NDA government of opening up space for terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, leading to an increase in violence.

"The PDP was the instrument that brought Kashmiri youngsters into the political process. And the day Mr Narendra Modi made an alliance between the PDP and the BJP, it destroyed the PDP as an instrument that could bring youngsters into the political system... And the day he did that, he massively opened up space for terrorists in Kashmir and they came in. And you saw a massive increase in violence," Gandhi said.

Asked if he wanted to take up an executive role in the Congress Party, he responded by saying, "I am absolutely ready to do that".

"That's a decision that the Congress Party has to make and that's a process that's currently going on right now," he said.

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