Rahul sees "Politics of polarisation" as a central challenge in India

Princeton
20 Sep 2017

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today said that the "politics of polarisation" was a "central challenge" in India and sections of the society, including the minority communities and tribals, do not feel part of the BJP's vision.

"In the 21st century, if you leave some people out of your vision, you are asking for trouble. New ideas would come, new different visions would develop," Rahul told students of the prestigious Princeton University here. "So, to me, the central challenge in India is politics of polarisation where you pit one community against other and you create spaces for other people to come in," he said. There is a belt of 100 million tribal people who do not feel comfortable with the vision (of the BJP), the Congress leader added. He pointed out that there are a number of states which do not want "a single vision forced down their throat."

"There are minority communities, they do not feel that they are part of the vision. So that's where the real danger is," Rahul said in response to a question. Historically India's strength has always been its ability to embrace people and allow them to flourish inside "our" system, he said. "That is something that is being challenged to me and everything is placed on that structure of harmony -- whether it's education, health care, growth, jobs," he said. Disruption of harmony, "is the central risk that India is facing," he said.

"India lives in a volatile neighbourhood. And if we alienate our own people, that creates space for people to do mischief. I do not need to name who those people are, but it opens up space for them," Rahul said. "Every single person in India needs to feel that listen here is the national vision and I can see my place in it," the Congress leader said. Leaving hundreds of millions of people outside that vision is not a good idea because other people will start to create problems, he cautioned.

"If you do not give the tribals in the tribal belt a clear sense of how they are going to engage in India, what their future in India is, they look for other imagination. That to me is the central problem and the biggest difference between and opposition Mr Modi and the BJP and so us," he said.