2 Jun 2023

What Rahul Gandhi Said In America On PM Modi's Popularity, Press Freedom, Opposition Unity

Washington: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said in America he doesn't believe everything he hears. He said this in response to a question regarding the worldwide high levels of popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Gandhi, who is is in the United States, was interacting with the media at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Rahul said, "There is a 'definite capture of the institutions of the country. There's a definite capture of the press in the country. I'm not convinced that you know. But I don't believe everything I hear."

Gandhi answered a range of questions, including on press and religious freedoms in India, the issues faced by the minorities and on the state of the economy.

Press freedom is very, very critical for democracy

On weakening press freedom in India, he said press freedom is very, very critical for democracy.

"It's not just press freedom. It's political access on multiple axis, there is a clamp down on the institutional framework that allowed India to talk, that allowed the Indian people to negotiate.... And that structure that allows the negotiation between India's people is coming under pressure," he added.

Freedom of institutions would be restored if Cong comes to power

When asked what his party would do to implement to ensure the rights of minorities in India if it came to power, he said, "India has a very robust system already in place, but that system has been weakened...You have to have an independent set of institutions that are not pressurized and controlled. And that's been the norm in India. This is an aberration that is taking place in India...If Congress comes to power then that would be restored quickly."

There is a hidden undercurrent building

Gandhi said the Opposition is pretty well united and a lot of good work is happening on the ground as he asserted that there is a hidden undercurrent building and it will 'surprise' the people in the next general elections.

Opposition is pretty well united

Rahul said the Opposition in India is pretty well united.

"And I think it's getting more and more united. We're talking with all the Opposition parties. I think quite a lot of good work is happening."

However, Rahul admitted there are spaces where Congress is competing also with other Opposition parties. So, it's a little bit of give and take as required," he added.

Disqualification from LS provided huge opportunity

A day earlier, while interacting with students of Stanford University, he said that he did not imagine his disqualification from Lok Sabha was possible when he joined politics. However, he asserted that disqualification had given him a huge opportunity to serve the people.

“I think the drama started really, about six months ago. We were struggling. The entire opposition is struggling in India. Huge financial dominance. Institutional capture. We’re struggling to fight the democratic fight in our country,” he said, adding that at this point in time, he decided to go for the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra’.

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