Rahul Gandhi admits to Congress failure, arrogance

Speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, Rahul Gandhi admitted that the UPA’s 2004 vision had a ‘sell-by date’ of 10 years, and it “was already not working” by 2010-11.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 13, 2017 8:07 am
rahul gandhi, Congress, Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi Berkeley speech,Rahul Gandhi speech, India news, Indian Express Congress vice -president, Rahul Gandhi delivering a speech at Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley, California on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Over three years after his party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi admitted on Tuesday that a “certain amount of arrogance” had crept into the party midway through UPA II, and it had stopped having “conversations with people”. Responding to a question on dynastic politics, Rahul said “that is how India runs”, and made it clear that he was ready to take over as the Congress president.

Speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, Rahul also admitted that the UPA’s 2004 vision had a ‘sell-by date’ of 10 years, and it “was already not working” by 2010-11.

“Most parties in India have that problem (dynastic politics). So, don’t give us the stick… Akhilesh Yadav is a dynast. Stalin is a dynast. (Prem Kumar) Dhumal’s son is a dynast… Even Abhishek Bachchan is a dynast. That is how India runs,” said Rahul, during the question-and-answer session after his lecture on ‘India At 70: Reflections On The Path Forward’.

“Don’t get after me because that is how the entire country is running. By the way, last I recall, Ambani’s kids were running their business and that was also going on in Infosys. That is what happens in India,” he said, adding that he was trying to change this practice in the Congress.

Asked if he was ready to take charge of an executive role in the Congress, he said, “I am absolutely ready to do that. But the way our party works, we have an organisational election process that decides that… That is a decision that the Congress party has to make.” Asked whether he was open to it, he said, “yes, sure.”

Read | A failed dynast confessed UPA arrogant, says Smriti Irani

While Rahul criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s politics and policies, he also had a word of praise for him. “Modi has certain skills. He is a very good communicator, probably much better than me. He understands how to give a message to three or four different groups in a crowd. So his messaging ability is very subtle and very effective,” he said. He, however, said Modi “doesn’t converse with the people he works with”, adding that BJP MPs had told him that he (Modi) “doesn’t listen (sunte nahin)”.

To a question on rebuilding the party, he said: “Any party in India that is in power for 10 years will run into a problem. It is just natural…The vision that we had laid out in 2004 was designed, at best, for a 10-year period. And it was pretty clear that the vision that we had laid out in 2004… by the time we arrived in 2010-11, it was already not working.”

He said that unlike the BJP and RSS, the Congress believes in conversation. “Somewhere around 2012, and I will say this, a certain arrogance crept into the Congress party and they stopped having that conversation,” he said.

“Really, what has happened is that if you look at India from about 2012… and we are to blame for at least two to three years of that… India has basically lost its vision,” said Rahul. Arguing that the BJP government had borrowed its central architecture from the UPA, he said: “But that architecture doesn’t work. We know it because it has stopped working.”

He accused Modi of promoting divisive politics, creating space for terrorism in Kashmir by joining hands with the PDP, and ruining the economy through demonetisation and a hastily-implemented GST. But, Rahul said, he liked Modi’s other initiatives like Make in India, adding that its orientation should be towards small and medium businesses, Clean India, and endorsed the “basic direction” of his foreign policy. He, however, criticised the policy vis-a-vis the immediate neighbourhood, arguing that China has ensured its presence in many neighbouring countries.

Rahul said the idea of non-violence is under attack in India today. “Hatred, anger and violence and the politics of polarisation has raised its ugly head in India today. Violence and hatred distract people from the task at hand. 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. In today’s connected world, this is extremely dangerous. It isolates people and makes them vulnerable to radical ideas,” he said.

Asked about the perception that he was a reluctant politician, Rahul said, “There is a BJP machine… about a thousand guys sitting on computers… they basically tell you about me. They tell you I am reluctant, I am stupid… They tell you all these things… And all they do is spread abuse about me. And the operation is basically run by the gentleman who is running our country.”

On the 1984 riots, Rahul said he condemned the violence. “And I fully support any action that is taken against anybody who is carrying out violence. In fact, I am with them in their quest for justice, 100 per cent,” he said. “And if there is anything I can do to help them get justice, I am the first person who will do it,” he added.

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  1. A
    Anil Kumar ponia
    Sep 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm
    Yes Ian fully agreed with Rahul Gandhi Party who comes secoend or third time in power there ministers become arrogant they take it granted that people will give them vote for there leader shake and do not care about people welfare they think about there own welfare UPA-1was satisfactory but UPA-2 was worst please NDA shod understand minister should be changed if they are not porformaing well or become arogent and try to make people fool .
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    1. F
      For the People
      Sep 13, 2017 at 4:39 pm
      Not a big fan of Rahul, but at least the guy is honest, compared to Modi who keeps saying 'bhayion behnon' but is blatantly lying everyday about everything. When congress was in power, at least the scams were called 'scams' and we all came to know about it. And from the number of zeros in the congress scam amounts we all thought we've seen the absolute limit of scams until all eternity. But look at what BJP is doing now. International crude oil prices have come down by half since 2014. : nasdaq /markets/crude-oil.aspx?timeframe 7y But why have our petrol prices always been rising by 10-15 paise every day? Where is all this money going?!!! Our everlying PM and his crony dynastic friends know for sure. But is there any scam in the name of BJP ? No. Why? Because it's all done through the system. At least the 2G scam was money looted through auction. This is looting from the people's pockets every single day! Organized loot and legalised p er suddenly makes a lot of sense!
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      1. L
        Lucian DSilva
        Sep 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm
        Absolutely! also note-ban and compulsory SB Insurance filled the treasury but of no purpose. Intl Crude price crash, benefit not passed to citizen, that can be worth 100 crores per day, still crying our leaders alongwith their vast chamchas, numbers increasing day-by-day from different socio-religious forms, are enjoying 24X7 hrs 5 Star living, Chartered Aircrafts, helicopters, SUVs, security, frequent World Tours but no money to spend in Govt. Hospitals-innocent children die everyday. Scarcity, lowest GDP, highest inflation, unemployment, violence, people taking law in their hands, powerless police, various bans, mob violence are rampant, all such shortfalls are drowned by the rulers- playing dramas in various forms. On what they, as a Opposition, objected the same are carried out with speed and gusto today Plus adding further woes also. Due to note change, nearly 60 crores people spent atleast rs. 1800 extra searching cash and now continuing spending for change Rs.2000 note.
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      2. A
        Andropoint.com
        Sep 13, 2017 at 3:01 pm
        rahul gandhi is foolish and not been able to control his party. Now he want to degrade the respect which NaMo has earned through out the worldwide. India me usse BJP ko badnam karna nai aya to USA jake India ko badnam kar raha hai. Sadakchap. RaGa is not Indian mentality he is foolish. Hw dont know how to do development of India. He only talks about women empowerment but dont know how to do it.
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        1. K
          Kamal Pasha
          Sep 13, 2017 at 12:54 pm
          Best education and decent upbringing made Rahul to speak truth. Chaiwalla was exonerated by Indian corrupt judiciary for lying that he was not involved in the killings of 3000 Indian Muslims when he as CM of Gujral. Best education always create honest leaders.
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          1. A
            Andropoint.com
            Sep 13, 2017 at 3:01 pm
            hahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahahhahahaahhahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahhaahahah
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            1. I
              I Don't Exist
              Sep 13, 2017 at 8:41 pm
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            2. J
              John Ho
              Sep 13, 2017 at 10:22 am
              If he would have been at least went through by my algorithmic flow presentation, today perhaps he would have been in at least designated 'LoO'post. But, chamchas and insecure dalals around him-made him lost the game. Now, things are all changed, changed those statics and not to mention dynamics. Anyway, it's nice that off late he is displaying understanding and maturity - which was nil when surrounded by non productive, non constructive critical and lacked creative people. His mistakes are being repeated by PM Modi Ji - pay for it in 2019, despite all last moment mitigation and damage control. Meanwhile, our loyalty restricted to only the nation and our sacred cons ution. Politics is merely a tool for national development and it's happy citizenry. So, we will explore all possible combination and subtraction for a developed, progressive and happy India.
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