‘Nothing Hindu about BJP…they will do anything to protect caste structure’ — Rahul in Paris

New Delhi: Addressing students at Sciences Po university in Paris, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said “there is nothing Hindu about what the BJP does”. 

A video of his speech, which he gave at the university Friday, was released by the Congress Sunday.

Responding to a student’s question on “Hindu nationalist rhetoric” over the last few years, Rahul said, “I have not read anywhere…in no Hindu book…from no learned Hindu person have I ever heard…that you should terrorise…harm…people who are weaker than you. This idea…this word Hindu nationalists (for BJP) is a wrong word. They are not Hindu nationalists. They have nothing to do with Hinduism (sic).” 

He added, “They are out to get power at any cost. They will do anything to get power and they will do anything to ensure that the Indian caste structure…the social structure of my country, is not threatened. They want dominance of a few people. There is nothing Hindu about them.”

The former Congress president’s attack on the ruling BJP comes at a time when New Delhi is hosting a number of world leaders for the G20 Summit. The Wayanad MP is on a week-long tour of Europe where he will be meeting politicians and members of the Indian diaspora in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Norway.

While interacting with the students, Rahul also accused the BJP and its ideological fountainhead RSS of “trying to stop expression and participation” of lower castes, Other Backward Classes, tribals and minority communities. “For me an India where anybody is mistreated and is being attacked is not an idea that I want,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Rahul also addressed a press conference in Belgium capital Brussels, where he supported the Modi government’s stand on the Russia-Ukraine conflict but reiterated the stance he took at UK’s Cambridge University this March, saying: “There is a sense in India that democratic structures of our country…institutional structures of our country are under attack. They are under attack from a group of people who are running India.”  

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‘INDIA bloc will focus on strengthening backward communities’

Responding to a question about the Opposition’s narrative in 2024 — when general elections are scheduled — Rahul said that the INDIA alliance will focus on inequality, economic problems, the strengthening of backward communities and challenging the idea of the caste system. 

“The real power of India is lower castes, other backward castes. And they are not given any space in the governance of India. They are not given any space in corporate India and they are not given any space anywhere. That to me is a crime,” he added.

Rahul also spoke about a “minimum income” to support Indian citizens while focussing on education and healthcare.

“We need to give them basic minimum architecture to transact from rural India to urban India. We spend a serious amount of money on education, healthcare. We (need to) provide a minimum floor where India commits to its people that no matter what happens, you simply cannot go below this floor. We will give you a minimum income below which, no matter what happens, you are not going to go,” he further said.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

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