03 Apr 2021: Rahul Gandhi questions US's silence on 'what's happening in India'
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday questioned the US administration's silence on "what's happening in India" during a virtual interaction with former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Harvard Kennedy School professor, Nicholas Burns.
In an hour-long interaction, Gandhi spoke on various issues, including the country's economy, domestic politics, the ongoing elections, and farmers' protests, among others.
Questions US's silence: 'What is your view on what is going on here?'
During the online interaction, Burns said democratic nations like India and the US should come together to defend democracy and take on non-democratic countries like China.
To this, Gandhi responded by saying, "I don't hear anything from the US establishment about what's happening in India. If you are saying partnership of democracies, I mean, what is your view on what is going on here?"
Fact: Gandhi on idea on freedom in the US Constitution
"I fundamentally believe that America is a profound idea. The idea of freedom, the way it is encapsulated in your Constitution, is a very powerful idea but you have got to defend that idea. That is the real question," the Congress leader told Burns.
On BJP: There's a wholesale capture of institutional framework in India: Gandhi
Talking about the "wholesale capture" of India's institutional framework, Gandhi mentioned the recent incident of an EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) being transported in a BJP candidate's car in Assam, claiming nothing about it was mentioned in national media.
"There is absolute financial and media dominance that the BJP has," he said, adding not only Congress, but no party other than BJP is winning elections.
Statement: 'BJP candidates running around with voting machines in their cars'
"In Assam, the gentleman who is running our campaign (for the Assembly polls) has been sending me videos of BJP candidates running around with voting machines in their cars," said Gandhi.
"He is screaming at the top his voice saying, 'Look, I have got a really serious problem here,' but there is nothing going on in the national media," added the former Congress chief.
Fact: Need structures that allow me to operate political party: Gandhi
"To fight elections, I need institutional structures, I need a judicial system that protects me, I need a media that is reasonably free, I need financial parity, I need structures that actually allow me to operate a political party. I don't have them," said Gandhi.
Policy priority: Gandhi on his policy priority if he were Prime Minister
During the online interaction, when asked what his policy priority would be if he were India's Prime Minister, Gandhi said he would move from a growth-centric economy to a job-oriented idea of economy.
He said economic growth is meaningless if it doesn't generate enough jobs, adding, "I am not interested in 9% economic growth if I don't see job numbers right next to it."
On farmers' agitation: Farmers have no other choice than to protest, says Gandhi
Gandhi also talked about farmers' protests against three contentious central farm laws, saying farmers have no other choice than to come out on the streets as the government shut the feedback route.
"It is absolutely necessary to reform agriculture, but you cannot attack the foundation of the agriculture system...without having a conversation (with farmers), because they are going to react," the Congress leader said.