Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his oratorical skills. Gandhi, who is currently on a visit to United States, was participating in a moderated Q&A session after his address at University of California, Berkeley. In response to a question on what he felt were the positives of the Modi government, Gandhi said, “I am an Opposition leader, but Mr Modi is also my Prime Minister. He has certain skills; he’s a very good communicator, probably much better than me. He understands how to deliver a message to three or four groups in a crowd; his messaging ability is very subtle.”
The Congress leader, though, pointed that PM Modi would to well to apply these communication skills with the people he works with. “What I sense is that he does not converse with the people he works with; even members of Parliament and BJP tell me that,” he said. Gandhi further said that it would be better if PM Modi starts listening to people who work with him. “There is lot of information that the opposition for example has and he is not really interested in that input.”
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Speaking about some of Modi government schemes, Gandhi said the idea of Make in India was good, but the orientation would be different if it were up to him. “The current focus of Make in India is on defence and large companies. My orientation would be small and medium businesses and bring in experts to transform them into global companies,” he said. The Congress leader also said the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan – spreading the benefits of hygiene and rooting out open defecation from the country – was a good scheme.
Speaking on Modi’s foreign policy, Gandhi said he agrees with the basic idea to further boost relations with United States, but added that the current balance between countries has made India vulnerable. Echoing China encircling theory, the 44-year old leader went on to say that Chinese have entered Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Describing Nepal blockade, as a “tactical mistake”, he said, “You basically lost Nepal. That was a tactical mistake. In the basic direction I agree, but don’t isolate India because it gets dangerous.”