'RSS, BJP spread anger, hatred; won't solve joblessness', says Rahul Gandhi ahead of National Herald relaunch

Amid an ongoing legal tangle that involves Congress and two of its top leaders, Rahul Gandhi is all set to relaunch the Congress-run newspaper National Herald – which was started by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938.

Gandhi and several other Congress leaders were in Bengaluru on Monday afternoon to release a commemorative edition of the paper titled "India at a Crossroads: 70 years of Independence".

During the release, Gandhi asked the editors of the newspaper to criticise Congress when required saying, "The National Herald should speak the truth," Scroll.in reported.

In the National Herald case, it was alleged that the Gandhis had set up the Young Indian company to buy the newspaper's debts using Congress party funds, and illegally acquired property worth Rs 5,000 crore.

The newspaper, which was shut in 2008 due to financial constraints, made a digital comeback in 2016. The print version of the newspaper will be formally launched in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee on 20 June, according to a report by NDTV.

In an interview with National Herald, Gandhi described unavailability of jobs as a "dangerously clear" challenge and specifically called out Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led government for not tending sufficiently to the issue of joblessness.

"Today, China has become the most efficient job producer in the world – over 12 million new jobs each year for the last five years. Neither the West nor India has developed a response to this challenge," Gandhi said, claiming that Modi gave India the highest level of unemployment in the last five years.

Gandhi stressed that the lack of jobs exposed us to vulnerability. He went on to explain how the rural inhabitants leave a familiar environment to seek employment in the city but are instantly feel lost on arrival. "Imagine the tremendous anxiety and fear that these internal migrants face – it’s shattering," he said.

"The ideology that drives Modi, the RSS and BJP uses this anxiety and insecurity to spread anger and hatred... But anger and hatred will not convert into jobs or solutions. Once this engine of hatred starts, you cannot control it," he added. Gandhi accused Modi of feeding off the hatred, rather than making attempts to control it.

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI


On being asked if the UPA government was able to cope with the challenge of migration for job search, Gandhi claimed that they had MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act)-like schemes to tackle the situation. Through MGNREGA, individuals are given a job guarantee of a minimum 100 days a year.

The Congress vice-president emphasised that the UPA policies were way forward, even though the architecture failed to deliver back then. "I am happy to see that over the last three years, despite their loud and critical speeches, the BJP government may have changed some of their names, but it has not been able to shut down the UPA’s flagship programs – MGNREGA, UID, RTI, RTE, RTF," Gandhi said.

Speaking of his vision for Congress, Gandhi said that the party saw politics as a process and that it was "designed for listening".

"It (Congress) is perhaps the only party that has changed itself continually according to the needs of the times; a party that gave the country bank nationalisation, also liberalised the economy two decades later. We were successful because we listened to the people. This is at the core of the Congress culture, we listen to the people and make policies accordingly," he said.

Criticising the BJP for lacking the ability to listen, Gandhi said, "For a people so entrenched in the past and so frightened of the future, they don’t realise that gradually people will run out of patience for their hollow words and unfulfilled promises,"

Gandhi lashed out at the NDA government over possessing "a very narrow, personal idea of development". He said, "For them, (NDA) giving benefits to a handful of people and business cronies is development of the whole country. For me, inclusiveness is a priority. I take inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi. The welfare of the last man is the only parameter for me."

Speaking of Congress' plans on changing the governance narrative, Gandhi said that he believed in the resilience of the country.

"The idea of India is at its core about forgiveness and embracing difference. And that is the fundamental idea of Hinduism too. Gandhi’s credo was – I embrace and I forgive. He did not hate anyone, not even the British. He refused to give in to anger," he said.

"People ask me – what is Congressiya? A true Congressperson is someone who cannot carry hatred or anger, and loves and respects the plurality of our nation. Hate can only distract India from the real task at hand," he added.

Updated Date: Jun 12, 2017 17:35 PM

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