Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed concern about the one organisation 'capturing' the Indian state and media as he addressed students at Cambridge University's Corpus Christi College on Monday, 23 May.
During his conversation with Dr Shruti Kapila at the 'India at 75' event, the leader further asserted that there is a "systematic attack" on the institutions that allow India to speak, such as the Parliament and the electoral system.
"What I see going on is a systematic attack on the institutions that allow India to speak – Parliament, election system, the basic structure of democracy is being captured by one organisation. And, as the conversation is being stamped out, the deep state is entering those spaces and redefining the way that conversation is happening."Rahul Gandhi, as per PTI
His comments mentioning the 'deep state' echo what the Member of Parliament (MP) from Kerala's Wayanad said in an 'Ideas for India' conclave in London last week.
Expanding on the idea of an assault on the country's democratic institutions, Gandhi touched upon the control being exercised over the media.
"You will not see this talk for more than 30 seconds anywhere in the Indian media. The reason is the Indian media is captured. It is controlled by a couple of large industrialists who support the government. So, we are not fighting a political party. We're fighting a capture of the Indian state and it's not easy."Rahul Gandhi, as per PTI
Fielding questions from the students, the Congress leader also spoke on looking at India as a union of states, an idea which had prompted censure from several BJP ministers.
'Modi is Constructing an Exclusive Vision of India'
The criticism was despite Indian constitution's declaration that 'India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states.'
Speaking on Monday evening, Gandhi said that the idea 'goes to the heart of India' and denounced Prime Minister Narendra Modi for creating a vision that is against the fundamental idea of the nation.
"I have a problem with anybody who has a vision for India that excludes people, I don't care who's being excluded. I have a problem with it because it is completely unfair, it ignores that there is tremendous energy in the people being excluded and I have a problem with it because that's not what India is," he said.
Responding to a question on secularism, he said that this goes 'beyond secularism'.
"Modi is constructing a vision of India where he's leaving out huge chunks of our population. And, that's not a vision of India, that's a vision of a part of India," he added.
Rahul Gandhi also contended the term 'Hindu nationalism' and said that there is "absolutely nothing Hindu about wanting to murder people and beat people up".
"My problem with the RSS and the Prime Minister is that they are fiddling with the foundational structure of India. When you play the politics of polarisation, when you isolate and demonise 200 million people, you're doing something extremely dangerous and you're doing something that is fundamentally against the idea of India," PTI quoted the leader as saying.
As the leader addressed concerns regarding stifling of institutions, secularism and majoritarianism, students carrying placards held a small demonstration for the Adivasis' fight against coal mining in Chhattisgarh.
"Rahul Gandhi keep your promise on mining," a placard reportedly read.
(With inputs from PTI.)