Unemployment behind rise of Narendra Modi and Donald Trump, says Rahul Gandhi at Princeton University

Princeton: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that rising unemployment around the world is responsible for the elevation of leaders like Narendra Modi and Donald Trump to power.

While talking to students of Princeton University students, Gandhi also spoke about the role of India and China in shaping the world.

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

In his interaction with the students, the Congress vice-president however stressed that even the Indian prime minister was not doing enough to solve the key problem facing the country.

In the candid conversation Gandhi, 47, admitted that Modi-led BJP came to power in India as the people were angry with his Congress party over the issue of unemployment.

Employment is an all-encompassing means to empower, enfranchise and involve Indians in the nation building process, he said.

"I think, the central reason why Modi arose and to an extent why Trump came, is the question of jobs in India and in the United States. There's a large part of our populations that simply do not have jobs and cannot see a future. And, so they are feeling pain. And they have supported these type of leaders," Gandhi told students.

He said the another problem is that nobody was recognising that unemployment was a problem.

"I do not know Trump. I don't go there. But, certainly our prime minister is not doing enough (in creating jobs)," said the Congress leader.

Gandhi has repeatedly raised the issue of joblessness during his meetings with experts, business leaders and Congressmen in the US.

At Princeton, Gandhi said India needed to transform itself to compete with China and for that the people in the country required jobs.

"Those same people who got angry with us because we couldn't deliver on those 30,000 jobs (a day) are going to get angry with Mr Modi. The central question is resolving that problem. My main issue with Mr Modi is that he diverts that issue and points the finger somewhere else instead of saying listen we have a problem," he said.

"There is anger building up in India right now. We can sense it. So to me the challenge is how to solve that job growth problem in a democratic environment. That's the challenge," he said.

"So we have to first accept it as a problem. Then we have to unite and try to solve it. Right now, nobody is even accepting it as a problem," he argued.

Focusing a major part of his question and answer session at Princeton on jobs, Gandhi asserted that new technologies and modernisation are unlikely to kill jobs.

"The nature of what we call it a blue collar job is going to change. But the question is who is going to have those jobs and which countries are going to have access to those jobs," he said.

He also raised the issue of polarisation in India.

He said that the politics of polarisation was central challenge in India and some sections of the society, including the minority communities and tribal people, do not feel a part of the ruling BJPs vision.

"In the 21st century, if you leave some people out of your vision, you are asking for trouble. New ideas would come, new different visions would develop. So, to me, central challenge in India is politics of polarisation where you pit one community against other and you create spaces for other people to come in," Gandhi said.

"There is a belt of 100 million tribal people who do not feel comfortable with the vision (of the BJP). There are a number of states in India, which don't want a single vision forced down their throat. There are minority communities, they do not feel that they are the part of the vision. So that's where the real danger is, Gandhi said in response to a question.

India's strength has always been its ability to embrace people, he said.

India, China's performance to determine how world is reshaped

In his interaction, Gandhi said that notwithstanding the path chosen by them, the performance of India and China would determine how the world would fundamentally be reshaped.

Gandhi also noted that there was "a lot of synergy" between India and the United States. "There are two large migrations taking place - one is completely free and the other is centrally controlled. The systems respond differently. India and China are two huge countries that are transforming from agricultural countries to urban modern model countries. And that's a huge chunk of the world population," Gandhi said in his interaction at the Princeton University.

"And how these two countries do is going to fundamentally reshape the world. It's not my place to say that China should be democratic or not. They have chosen their path and we have chosen ours," he said. But there is "cooperation and there is competition" between the two most populous countries of the world. "We have to figure out how to get our jobs. We have to basically compete with China," he said, adding that frankly India is not doing that well.

China, he said, is entering spaces with One Belt, One Road (OBOR) venture. "And China has a particular vision of the world. It's very clear. And from their perspective it's a very powerful vision," he said.

Gandhi also raised a series of questions for India that he sought to be answered. "Does India has a similar vision? What does that vision look like? How much cooperation is going to be between us and them? These are basically the fundamental questions going forward. But the thing to realise is that China is moving with tremendous power and we have to work with that," he said.

Gandhi said there's a lot of space for cooperation between the United States and India in the creation of jobs and in the education sector. "So I think a lot of synergy between the two countries.

Also historically India has maintained balance (in relationship). So India has had a relationship with China and has had a relationship with Russia. It has had a relationship with the US and both the countries. To me the strategic relationship with the United States is important," he said.

The scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family underscored the need for a balance (of relationship) in terms of all the other countries. "But balance is also important in terms of all the other countries. So I would say there is a slight difference between us and the government," Gandhi said in response to a question.

With inputs from PTI


Published Date: Sep 21, 2017 06:50 am | Updated Date: Sep 21, 2017 06:51 am


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