Maintaining that India has witnessed intolerance for the past five years, and that the country is being divided for political reasons and benefits, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that his party does not want a country bereft of the BJP’s presence, but a nation that is united.
Addressing the Indian diaspora at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Rahul took a jibe at the ruling party’s “Congress-mukt Bharat” slogan and said, “Some people have said they want a Congress-mukt Bharat. We do not want a BJP-mukt Bharat; we want a Bharat which is united.”
He said India is facing a “crisis of unemployment” and its “farmers are in deep trouble”. He identified intolerance as the third problem.
Rahul said he met Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who told him that the country is celebrating 2019 as the Year of Tolerance.
The Congress chief said: “The last five years, not as a Congress person but as an Indian, have been sad years for me…. Today I was told by His Highness (Al Maktoum) that it is the Year of Tolerance…. Tolerance is listening to the people, tolerance is embracing people, embracing ideas that are different from yours — (embracing) people of different religion, people of different communities. Can you have tolerance without humility?”
Stating that he is sad today since India is “being divided”, Rahul said, “It is being divided for political reasons, and for political benefit. Different religions are being divided…the rich and the poor are being divided. India can never be strong if it is divided…”
On the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, Rahul said with “utmost confidence” that “we are going to win that battle. We are going to bring India together again and move forward and take on the challenges that our country faces.”
He said instead of discussing issues such as unemployment, problems of farmers, building a future for the youth and empowering women, “we are sitting and fighting against each other, threatening each other, shouting at each other, abusing each other”. All that, he said, “does not make sense in the 21st century”.