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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday, 24 August, addressed a gathering at the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE), as part of his two-day visit to the United Kingdom.
During his address, the Congress president spoke about the 2019 general elections, the job crisis in India, and the Rafale deal.
Systematic Attack on Indian Institutions
The Congress president said that election is going to be fought between the BJP and the Opposition alliance as for the first time there has been a "systematic attack" on Indian institutions.
The first priority of the Congress is to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and stop the institutions in India from being encroached upon, he added.
Next election is pretty straightforward. On one side there is BJP and on the other side, there is every opposition party. The reason is, for the first time, Indian institutions are under attack.Rahul Gandhi
"What we're defending is the onslaught on the Indian Constitution. I and the entire opposition have agreed, that our first priority is to stop the poison being spread," Gandhi said.
"The important thing is I operate in a democracy. I have been attacked. I have learned and you can see what I bring to the table," he said.
Gandhi also said that 2019 was going to be an ideological battle.
I see this as an ideological battle. We will not ally with anyone ideologically on our platform.Rahul Gandhi
On Non-Violence, Oppression, Exclusion
The Congress president while referring to the assassination of father Rajiv Gandhi and grandmother Indira Gandhi said that "the essence of our ideology is non-violence. As a victim of violence, I condemn any form of violence on anyone. I'm crystal clear about that.”
I have been through a certain degree of violence. Those experiences have made me compassionate and that is why I reach out to people.Rahul Gandhi
Standing up for the oppressed is the idea of the Congress and every Indian has this embedded in them. But, Congress is unable to connect to people with this idea, he said.
India with its non-violent ideas and our ability to show compassion to people who we don’t agree with is embedded in our culture.Rahul Gandhi
Gandhi said that from the Indian perspective, development has taken place through the sacrifice of all Indians. Their benefit, too, must go to all Indians. No community should feel like they do not have a voice.
On Agriculture and The Job Market
Rahul Gandhi also spoke about the plight of the Indian farmer, saying that it is our duty to help and protect the farmer. He added that it was an economic problem for the average Indian farmer to not make enough money to survive.
It requires MSP, a sensitive touch when there’s a calamity and sometimes loan waivers to help the farmer. In terms of productivity, we need to look at how to change habits, introduce technology.Rahul Gandhi
"There is a full blown job crisis in India and the Indian government is in denial. Where China creates 50,000 jobs a day, only 450 jobs are created in a day. This is a catastrophe," Gandhi said.
The Rafale Deal
Congress president Rahul Gandhi today raked up the multi-billion Rafale deal in the UK, accusing the BJP government of changing the contract to benefit an industrialist who was in debt.
Gandhi, in response to a question on tackling corruption during an 'In Conversation' event at the famous London university, said:
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been building aircraft for 70 years. It has built the Sukhoi, Hawk... whole set of planes. HAL has no debt. HAL has by far the best experience in building aircraft in 70 years.Rahul Gandhi
Questioning the government's fighter jet deal struck with French giant Dassault Rafale, the Congress president said he found it "absolutely amazing" that the media in India had not picked up on highlighting how Ambani was "magically" given the contract for 36 fighter jets soon after Modi's visit to France.
"Our government signed a contract with Dassault, and gave the contract to HAL. The price we were paying was approximately 520 crores a plane.
Then something happened, Prime Minister Modi went to France, changed the contract from 126 planes to 36 planes, changed the pricing structure from 520 crores to 1,600 crores and magically, Mr Anil Ambani was given the contract.Rahul Gandhi
The Congress president alleged that "Mr Anil Ambani is Rs 45,000 crore in debt".
Mr Anil Ambani has never made a plane in his life, and the company that got the contract, one of the biggest defence contracts in the world, was formed one week before the contract was signed, luckily this is absolutely amazing. So that’s the interesting question about corruption
Earlier on Friday, 24 August, Rahul Gandhi addressed the International Institute of Strategic Studies in the city where he talked about the Doklam standoff, and lashed out at the RSS.
An event titled 'India and the World' was also held at the House of Commons complex in London later, wherein Rahul Gandhi asserted his party would win the 2019 general elections by building a "formidable alliance" to fight the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Prior to being in London, Gandhi was in Germany for two days, where he addressed multiple events.
(All inputs from PTI)