SHILLONG, FEB 22: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are “bullies” and urged the people to fight against them through non-violence.
“The BJP and the RSS are bullies who think they know everything and understand everything and have no respect for anybody else,” Rahul said while addressing an election rally in Malki ground here.
Accusing the BJP and the RSS of trying to attack and destroy Meghalaya’s culture and tradition, the senior Congress leader said, “I am here to tell you that we are standing with you in this fight and we are not going to allow the ideology of the BJP to harm your language, tradition, culture and history.”
“Because for us that would not be India, that would be violence, that would be anger, that would be hatred as our country is not a hateful, violent and angry country,” he added.
He said only a coward tries to impose his will on another person and the BJP is like a class bully “who thinks that he is stronger than anybody, bullies everybody and doesn’t really understand anything and one find day somebody in the class teaches him a good lesson and he stops bullying”.
Urging the people to fight the “bullies” collectively, Rahul said, “The way to fight them (BJP and RSS) is through non-violence, through affection, through love and through respect for each other’s culture, tradition, languages and religions.”
Stating that he has come to Meghalaya to try and understand its people’s perspective and try to listen and appreciate their history, culture and tradition, he said, “I wearing this jacket as a sign of respect to your culture and your tradition,” while adding “So if I was to come here like the Prime Minister does and put on this jacket then attack your religion, attack your culture, attack your history, attack your language I would be insulting you.”
“So I come here with humility and I wear this jacket as a sign of respect to you, to your ancestors and to everybody who lived in the state before you and because I do that I walk away from Meghalaya with wisdom, with understanding and with affection,” he added.
The Lok Sabha MP further alleged that the BJP is attacking states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and said, “…every single state is being attacked by the RSS and one idea is being imposed on all these states and that is something which we will resist and we will not accept.”
He also slammed the BJP for their communal polarization and said, “You know about the anti-conversion bill in Karnataka. You see on televisions the mob lynching that takes place. You understand exactly what they are trying to do.”
Further, Rahul accused the TMC of trying to help the BJP form the government in Meghalaya.
“Of course, you also know the history of the TMC. You know the violence that takes place in West Bengal. You know the Saradha scam that has taken place. You are aware of their tradition. They came to Goa, spent huge amounts of money and the idea was to help the BJP and this is exactly the idea in Meghalaya (also). The TMC’s idea in Meghalaya is to ensure that the BJP is strengthened and they come to power,” he said.
Attacking the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government for the corruption that has been taking place under its regime, the senior Congress leader said, “Today we were having a conversion in the car about the collapse of the Assembly’s dome and the leaders were telling me look they were building the dome of the Assembly and it collapsed and I asked them jokingly a question did it collapse by mistake or they collapse it purposely so that they could rebuild it and they laugh and said we never thought about that. Maybe they collapsed it on purpose so that they could rebuild it and spend some more money rebuilding the dome.”
“The same thing happened during Covid. When the state required support, protection, the government was busy stealing money that was meant for the people who died as a result of Covid.
Then there was the rice scam where almost 1 lakh bags of rice that were meant for the PDS of Meghalaya were found in Assam and of course, the illegal coal scam where over 13 lakh metric tons of coal has been mined illegally and Rs 650 crore have been taken away from you,” he added.
Sharing about the Kanyakumari to Srinagar Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul said, “(It was) a journey of almost 4,000 km and it took us slightly more than 4 months and the reason we were forced to do this was because the BJP and the RSS who were running the Government of India have captured every single institution of the Indian state whether it is parliament or it is the media, it is the bureaucracy, the election commission, the judiciary. All these institutions are under pressure, and are being attacked by the ideology of the RSS and the BJP.”
He said the BJP refused to accept that India has multiple ideas that India is not one idea, not one community, not one language, not one religion but India is of many different ideas, many different religions, different communities, different languages and different cultures.
“This is what the Bharat Jodo Yatra is all about. It is a journey of appreciating these different languages, cultures and religions. And it was not so much a journey of speaking but it was a journey of listening, of trying to understand and trying to appreciate the diversity of this country. There were members who walked with us from every single state including Meghalaya and every one of us appreciated this diversity. You could see as you move from state to state that it is completely a different idea and completely different culture and different language and this is really the beauty of our country,” Rahul added.
Meanwhile, the Congress leader said that 47 out of 60 candidates are fresh young faces below the age of 45 and 10 of them are women and “it is our aim to connect to the aspirations of the young voters to show a youthful Congress party and also a congress party that has experienced and we are talking about providing Meghalaya with an inclusive vision that will take all members of Meghalaya society forward together.”
Referring to the five major commitments of the Congress for Meghalaya, he said that the party is proposing to provide Rs 3,000 every month and Rs 36,000 annually to all single mothers below the poverty line besides giving one job per household to address the problem of unemployment in the state.
“We will make sure that the people of Meghalaya get uninterrupted power supply to their houses and industries. We will fight the menace of drugs and try to provide a drug free Meghalaya with strict actions against peddlers and we will provide support to those who are addicted to drugs by setting up de-addiction centres and finally, we will give you a corruption free Meghalaya with total transparency in all government transaction by bringing in a new law,” Rahul said.