Continuing his tirade against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has accused the saffron party and the RSS of trying to capture the country’s prestigious institutions like the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) and the RBI.
In an interview to The Hindu, Rahul sought to question the appointments done by the government in several institutions saying ‘Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants key people in institutions to be personally loyal to him’.
“One aspect is personal loyalty, the other is ideological position. It’s basically the RSS and the BJP trying to capture as many Indian institutions as possible. They did it to the Planning Commission, to the RBI,” he said.
Coming down heavily on the functioning of government, he said, “I think this is an RSS-Narendra Modi-run government.”
“I don’t think they believe in the idea that India should decide what it wants to do. So these institutions are of no use to them, they are simply hindrances. They just want ‘yes men’ in these institutions so that Narendra Modiji has the space to take a decision as damaging as demonetisation,” Rahul added.
Referring to the controversy related to former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s tenure, he said that there was ‘no space in the BJP-led NDA government for the ones who disagree’.
“The right-thinking people in the RBI said that. I believe the last governor refused to go ahead with it,” he said.
He said that the ‘government feel no need to consult institutions like the Planning Commission or RBI’ because ‘Prime Minister just decides things and asks the RBI to sign off’.
“If you don’t want to sign off on these decisions – leave. We will put someone else in your place, who won’t have that problem,” he said.
Asking the Prime Minister to show some respect for the ‘institutions that house Indian knowledge and having years of experience of dealing with issues’, the Congress leader said, “The RBI is not just a building, it’s years of knowledge about our financial systems.”
The role of the Prime Minister, Rahul said, is to ‘absorb this knowledge, listen to these people’.
‘Note ban to hit BJP very badly in Assembly polls’
To a question on forging an alliance of the opposition parties to take on the BJP in 2019 general elections, Rahul said that the ‘parties will have to build on the ‘negative’ sentiment of the demonetisation decision and deliver an alternative idea to the country’.
“Poor people and, by the way, even business people now feel that demonetisation was a mistake. This sentiment is only going to grow until 2019,” he said.
Denying that the Opposition had been weak, he claimed that the BJP will be defeated in the next election.
Speaking about the impact of the demonetisation decision in the five poll-bound states, he said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would hit the BJP very badly in poll-bound states.” “It’s a devastating step for anybody who is part of the cash economy.”
He also slammed the Prime Minister for making hollow promises to the countrymen. Rahul said that ‘Narendra Modi has generated no jobs this year’ and that the level of unemployment is highest in the last seven year.
“Narendra Modi promised us a vision, he promised us Make in India – two crore jobs a year,” he said, adding that ‘he has failed on jobs; he has pretty much failed on education. I don’t know where he has been successful’.
‘One man decides everything in AAP-BJP’
To a question related on Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), he said, “The AAP operates very much like the BJP. One man decides everything and there is no conversation, there is no listening to anybody.”
Further he rejected the ‘idea that the AAP was a threat to the Congress’.
Speaking about his party’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party in politically crucial northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Rahul said that ‘idea was to put together a younger alternative for the state’.
“The idea behind the alliance was to create a younger alternative for UP and provide a vision to the state, whereby we could transform the state,” he said as he categorically rejected reports of differences at personal level.
Praising CM Akhilesh Yadav, he said, “There is a lot of common ground. Akhilesh has good intentions and he has an open mind.”
The Congress party has joined hands with the ruling SP in Uttar Pradesh. The party, which managed to bag only two seats in the 2014 polls, is contesting 105 seats of the 403 total constituencies.