Dubai: Claiming India was being divided for political reasons and that there has been intolerance for the last five years, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday called upon the Indian diaspora across the globe to commit themselves towards solving the countrys biggest crises — unemployment and agrarian distress.
Heaping lavish praise on UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his humility, Gandhi in a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a country like India cannot be run with “arrogance” and “believing that only one idea was supreme”.
Addressing a gathering of Indian expatriates at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Gandhi asserted that Congress would come to power at the Centre. He reaching out to the diaspora, saying “Your voices will be deeply embedded” in the Congress’ manifesto for the 2019 general election.
“I was told by his highness (Al Maktoum) that this year is the year of tolerance in UAE. But I am sad to say that back home, it has been four-and-a-half years of intolerance,” said Gandhi referring to the Modi-led BJP government which came to power in May 2014.
“Tolerance means listening to people, embracing different ideas, different religions, different communities. But is tolerance possible without humility, is tolerance possible with arrogance…never.
“Can you run a country like India believing that only one idea is supreme and none others? Today India is being divided for political reasons, for political benefits,” said Gandhi.
Condemning Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s call for a “Congress free India”, Gandhi said he doesn’t want a “BJP mukt Bharat” but an India which is united.
“Instead of discussing how to defeat unemployment and what our farmers are going through, we are sitting and fighting with each other, threatening and abusing each other. We have to bring India together again regardless of any ideology,” he said.
Gandhi asked the Indian diaspora across the globe to commit themselves towards bringing India together again. “I want you to realise that we cannot build India without you. I want a commitment from you, that you are going to stand with India to solve the big problems we face,” said Gandhi.
Holding demonetisation and a flawed GST responsible for destroying millions of jobs across India, Gandhi said : “We need to take head on unemployment, we need to show the rest of the world that not only we can beat unemployment but challenge China when it comes to manufacturing”.
Urging the NRIs to help with technological knowhow and technical expertise, Gandhi said Indian farmers were in deep trouble and a “second green revolution” was required to bring them out of the crisis.
“I want your voice deeply embedded inside our manifesto,” said Gandhi urging the expatriates to share their views with Indian Overseas Congress chairman Sam Pitroda.
On his maiden visit to the UAE, Gandhi also interacted with Indian workers at Jebel Ali industrial area and assured them of incorporating their issues in the Congress manifesto.
Later he met UAE Prime Minister Al Maktoum and said that he was committed to helping build stronger relationship between the two countries.
Addressing the workers, Gandhi also took a swipe at Modi and his monthly radio programme (mann ki baat), saying “I am not here to say my ‘mann ki baat’, but I am here to listen to your mann ki baat”.
Accompanied by former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Pitroda, Gandhi interacted with the workers, enquiring about the problems faced by them in Dubai and their families back in India.
With several workers complaining about not getting their full salaries and getting cheated by touts, Gandhi asked them to inform their grievances to Pitroda so that they are accommodated in the Congress manifesto.
As part of his global outreach programme ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi also interacted with representatives of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Dubai and met the Punjabi community.