Princeton (New Jersey) : The politics of polarisation is the central challenge to India, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has said and slammed the government over job creation, saying people are getting angry over its performance on that front.
Interacting with students at the Princeton University here on Tuesday, the Congress leader spoke on an array of issues. He admitted that the previous UPA government led by Congress “could not deliver adequately” in creating jobs and the party’s vision outlined in 2004 had run into trouble by 2012.
The Congress leader hinted that he faced a backlash to his efforts to democratise the party’s youth organisations.
Gandhi, 47, who is on a two-week tour of the US, had last week interacted with students at Berkeley University and answered a wide range of questions.
Gandhi alleged that some sections of society, including tribal community, does not feel a part of the BJP’s vision.
“In the 21st century, if you leave some people out of your vision, you are asking for trouble. The central challenge in India is politics of polarisation where you pit one community against another and you create spaces for other people to come in,” he said.
He said that the reason for the rise of Narendra Modi and also to an extent of US President Donald Trump was the “question of jobs”.
“A large part of our populations simply do not have jobs and cannot see a future and so they are feeling the pain. And they have supported these type of leaders. The problem is that the record on jobs of these leaders — I do not know Trump so I won’t go there — but certainly our Prime Minister is not good enough,” Gandhi said.
The Congress leader said jobs were the central challenge in India and 30,000 youth were entering the job market everyday in India but only 450 jobs were being created.
He said a key reason for Modi leading the BJP to victory in the 2014 general elections was UPA government’s performance on jobs.
“So those same people who got angry with us because we could not deliver on those 30,000 jobs are now going to get angry with Modi.”
He accused the Prime Minister of diverting from the issue.
“The anger is building up in India right now. We can sense it. So to me, the challenge is how to solve the problem in a democratic environment.
“Frankly, the Congress party was unable to do it. But Modi is also unable to do it. It is a deeper problem, so we have to first accept it as a problem and then we have to unite at solving it,” Gandhi said.
At the interaction on Tuesday, the Congress leader said he would try to push for “transformation of the Lok Sabha and state legislatures to open up the law-making process”.
Gandhi said the performance of India and China – two large and populated countries – would fundamentally reshape the world.
He spoke against centralisation of power and said though there was broad agreement on some economic policies with the BJP, the Congress firmly believes “India needs to carry everyone (along)”.
Gandhi said he likes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of “Make in India” but the focus should be on small and medium companies.
Referring to blue collar jobs, Gandhi said China dominates them because they have a particular type of political system. “They use coercion to dominate them, but they have got a competitive advantage in that space,” said Gandhi.
Referring to India and China, he said there were two large migrations taking place – one is completely free and the other is centrally controlled. He said India has to basically compete with China and it was not doing that well.
Gandhi said jobs will be created in India if small and medium companies are able to turn into big companies.
The Congress leader also spoke against centralisation of power, saying too few people control too much in India’s present political system.