Politics of alienating communities affects growth: Rahul
In a veiled criticism of BJP's policies, Rahul Gandhi today said politics of alienating communities affects growth and the Congress stood for inclusive growth even as he sidestepped questions of his becoming prime minister.
India had witnessed faster economic growth under the UPA because it had greatly lowered tensions among communities and fostered harmony, the Congress Vice-President said.
"When you play the politics of alienating communities, you stop the movement of people and ideas. When that happens we all suffer. Businesses suffer and the seeds of disharmony are sown and the dreams of our people are severely disrupted," he said, adding that this damage takes a very long time to reverse.
"It is very dangerous to leave people behind. Inclusive growth is a win-win for everybody," Rahul said addressing the Annual General Meeting of the CII here.
Likening India to a movement where a billion people were trying to break the shackles, he said there was a need to use the energy and ideas generated by this exercise to help everybody.
"There are two ways this movement can go. It can go harmoniously or it can go disruptively. The idea of the Congress party is that it should go harmoniously and everybody should move together and happily," he said.
Anger, hatred and prejudice did not contribute to growth, he added.
Sidestepping questions on becoming Prime Minister, he said all this talk was "irrelevant".
"I got press guys asking when you are getting married. Somebody else saying, boss, when are you going to be the Prime Minister. Somebody saying, no your are not going to be PM, somebody say may be you will be PM. There is good possibility
"These are irrelevant questions. It's all smoke," he said.
Cautioning on the dangers of centralisation of power, Rahul said, "if you expect Manmohan Singhji or anyone else to solve everything, you can keep expecting."
The Gandhi scion said it was an "accident of faith" that he happened to be in the position. "It is an accident of faith. I happen to come from a chain of persons. I have been put in a situation.... Boss you have to do it."
He said it was unrealistic to expect that he or any other leader can "fix India". "Don't give power to one person, give it to a billion."
India is the largest pool of human capital people have ever known and probably would ever know, Rahul said.
"It was this movement of people...this tremendous movement of people and ideas that is going to define this country in the 21st century," he said.
"Democracy and technology have triggered a non-reversible chain reaction in India. This reaction is unstoppable, nobody can stop it," he said.
The Congress Vice-President also sought the help of the industry to build infrastructure.
"It is our duty to provide India with a physical infrastructure to enable this unprecedented movement of people and ideas," he said.
BJP MP Yashwant Sinha said he was "perplexed" by what Rahul had said but maintained he had been relevant in some parts.
"Who was he criticising? Certainly not us as we have not been in power for the last several years. Was he targeting his family or his party?" Sinha said.
The BJP leader maintained there were contradictions in Rahul's speech. "On behalf of his party, he could have said this is what could be done. But he only shared a set of platitudes," Sinha said.
Asked how he would compare Rahul with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who many see as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, Sinha said, "It will be very unfair to Rahul Gandhi to compare him with Modi because there is no comparison. I don't want to be harsh on the young man."
Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain voiced his disappointment over Rahul not speaking about corruption and price rise.
"We hoped that he would speak on corruption and inflation, but he has disappointed the nation. Rahul spoke about giving powers to 'pradhan' but not giving power to 'pradhan mantri' (Prime Minister)," Hussain said.