“Everything has changed with respect to democracy in India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014,” uttered Rahul Gandhi in the early days of September during an interaction at the University of Oslo in Norway.
The eminent leader of the opposition INDIA bloc is on a week-long trip to Europe. He has grabbed the headlines through various astounding claims during his free-wheeling interactions at several eminent universities.
During this trip, he held a discourse with a group of lawyers of the European Union in Brussels and the Hague, also interacting with students and members of the Indian diaspora. Rahul Gandhi, a formidable contestant for the Prime Minister’s chair in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, has kicked up dust through his lecture at the University of Oslo in Norway.
“India is weakening as a democracy,”
During his hour-long speech, Rahul Gandhi mentioned that India has been defending an outright assault upon its democracy cast by the Narendra Modi Government. He emphasised that once this defence stops, India shall lose its democratic structure.
He said, “You said India is the largest democracy, it is true, but for me, a democracy where you are not allowed to express your voice, where you are not allowed to say what you feel, where a large number of people are not given that opportunity, is a weakening democracy and that is what we have in India.”
“Will not let the RSS capture our institutions,”
During his discourse at the University of Olso, Rahul Gandhi lambasted RSS (Rashtriya Seva Sangh), the parent organisation of the BJP. He asserted his conviction towards stopping the RSS from ‘encroaching’ upon the democratic institutions in India, neutralising the chances of “murder of Indian democracy.”
He mentioned that the INDIA alliance was dedicated to alleviating the inequality thumped upon India by the government-aided monopoly of 2-3 business tycoons. He also upheld how more than 200 million people got pushed to the verge of poverty over the past nine years, reiterating that the incumbent government should have shown greater involvement in healthcare and education.
Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Plan B’ if the Modi government changes the name from ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’:
Rahul Gandhi cracked a light-hearted joke about the India vs. Bharat row, where he mentioned that if the Prime Minister changed the name of the country from India to Bharat, the opposition bloc INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) shall follow the precept and change its name to ‘BHARAT’, pushing the PM to further dilemma.
He boasted how the name of his political faction compelled the incumbent government to change the country’s name. “If and when he does change the name (from India to Bharat), we will also change our name. Then, he will have to change the name again,” joked Rahul.
Fighting for the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha, and Guru Nanak:
Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Modi government was keen on diverting the masses away from the sacred ideologies fostered by Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha, and Guru Nanak. He mentioned how he would strain every nerve to ensure such profound philosophies did not get subversed under hate-mongering. “We are engaged in an ideological struggle for the future of our country, and it’s our responsibility to defend our position,” he claimed.
Political vendetta by tax-payer-funded institutions:
Rahul Gandhi did not spare an opportunity to illustrate instances where the Modi government had allegedly misused government agencies and coerced them to embark upon a political witchhunt. He complained, “Agencies like CBI, ED and Income Tax Department have gotten weaponised. They attack those who resist the ideology of the BJP. So, we are no longer fighting a regular political contest. We are now fighting the architecture of the Indian state.”
With 24 cases lodged against his name and having been interrogated for over 55 hours, he exemplified how he became a victim of a state-sponsored political vendetta. He also illustrated how, for the first time in India’s history, he got penalised with the maximum sentence for a criminal defamation case.
During his speech, Rahul Gandhi pointed out that elections in India could no longer be contested through conventional methods like interviews and conversations. He also expressed his discontentment over the fact that he is not allowed to meet students in Indian universities.
India must emerge as the alternative to China:
Emphasising the significance of being a nation with 1.4 billion people, Rahul Gandhi illustrated that the country had no other option but to manufacture in its own turf. He elaborated on how India sustained a moral high ground over China as it encompasses an alternative vision to China’s abuse of labour and human rights through providing political, economic and social freedoms.
In his speech in Norway, Rahul Gandhi unofficially revealed the basic memorandum of the INDIA bloc. Most of them are fundamentally opposed to the BJP’s ideology and the RSS’ Hindutva. With less than a year to go for the Lok Sabha elections 2024, Rahul Gandhi looks unrelenting in cutting some slack to the Modi government.
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