Churu (Rajasthan), October 23: Accusing BJP of fanning communal flames, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the party’s “politics of hatred” was damaging the country’s fabric and apprehended he may also be assassinated like his grandmother and father, who had fallen victim to it.
Striking an emotional chord, the Congress vice-president said that when he visited riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh sometime back and talked to both Hindus and Muslims, he could see his own story in their words.
“I was seeing my face in their grief. That is why I am against their (BJP’s) politics….What do they do. They will put Muzaffarnagar on fire, Gujarat on fire, UP on fire and Kashmir on fire and then you and we will have to douse that. This damages the country,” Mr. Gandhi said.
He said that such politics leads to anger and resentment and precious lives are lost in violence.
“My grandmother was killed. My father was assassinated and perhaps I may also be killed one day. I am not bothered. I had to tell you what I felt from the heart,” Mr. Gandhi said and vowed to oppose BJP’s politics. “Anybody can get angry. The anger is deliberately put into people. Politicians do it. Interested party does it. And then the common man, who is hurt has to carry this anger with him. He moves everywhere with this anger. That is why I am against the politics of BJP. Because what they do is that they hurt (people) for political gains.”
He told the gathering, which included a number of Sikhs, that after the assassination of her grandmother, he came to know that the assassins Satwant Singh and Beant Singh wanted lob a grenade at her grandmother on Diwali.
Mr. Gandhi said it took him 10-15 years to put aside his anger against his friends Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, who were bodyguards of his grandmother. Pointing towards Sikhs sitting there, Mr. Gandhi said that people in Punjab were angry then but now that anger has subsided.
Relating the anger among a section of people due to communal violence to the larger theme of resentment due to deprivation in society, the Congress vice-president said that anger does not emanate only from killings and also from hunger.
Reaching out to youth, Mr. Gandhi also promised to end the “quotaism in political system”, where a handful run the show, in the same way his father late Rajiv Gandhi brought an end to quota system in telephone allocation.
“We have to change one more thing in the next 10 years and this we have to do with youth. The biggest lacunae in our country is in the political system. Be it of BJP, Congress, BSP and SP. This system is run by 300 to 400 people. I want that in coming years, system should be run by lakhs of youths.
“Rajiv Gandhi had brought to an end to quotas in (landline) telephone and all of you got a mobile phone in your hand. I want to bring an end to this quotaism in the political system and as you have mobile phone in your hand, political power will also be in your pocket in future,” Mr. Gandhi said.
Noting that political change will be heralded in the country after 2014, he said once Congress party introduces it, all other parties will follow suit like they do in other aspects.
“The fight for 2014 is going on. My job is not only to win elections but also to tell you the long—term thinking for future,” he said, promising youths of Rajasthan not only employment in India but also abroad in the time to come due to the measures taken by the UPA government.
BJP hits out at Rahul
The BJP attacked Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for making an emotional pitch to garner votes and claimed he had been compelled to do so as he had nothing to drive home about UPA government’s performance.
“It is very unfortunate that Rahul has spoken about the assassination of his grandmother and illness of his mother during electioneering and made an emotional appeal to the people to vote for Congress,” senior BJP leader Ravishanker Prasad told reporters.
“It’s very mean on the part of the Congress vice-president to harp on the sacrifices made by his family about which the country already knows,” he said, adding the emotional appeal made by Mr. Rahul at the same time “explains the fact that he has nothing positive to talk about the performance of UPA government for nearly two terms“.
“It (Rahul’s speech in Churu, Rajasthan) also explains that your government has nothing to offer as far as the problems of modern India is concerned,” the senior BJP leader said.
Claiming that the Congress vice-president’s attempt to woo the electorate on emotional and personal issues will have no bearing on the outcome of the assembly and parliamentary polls, he said “today’s youth is not moved by these emotional things but they are more concerned about their future.”
Mr. Prasad hit out at UPA government for its alleged non-performance during its rule nearing a decade and charged India has suffered and become an insecure place during the tenure of the present dispensation at the Centre.