Senior Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi is a gift that keeps on giving. On Tuesday night, while interacting with Kaushik Basu, professor of International Studies and Economics at Cornell University, Rahul Gandhi gave the unfunny comedians a run for their money.
At around 30 minutes into the video, while answering a hypothetical question on how would he deal with US vs China and India’s role in it if he were the Prime Minister, here is what he said:
“The first thing is, I can see that there is a clear Chinese vision. I don’t agree with elements of it but it is there and the vision is terrestrial global vision. It is a ‘modern silk road with a nervous system’ in it. And it is a global vision. The United States requires a global vision. We are a friend of United States. But I don’t see that global vision. I see a United States which is looking inside. I see United States much like India that is dealing with its own internal contradictions, internal tensions but I don’t see United States I used to see 30-40-50 years ago that used to transform you know, do transformatory (sic) action.
That is one element that is required and India has a role there in creating a vision. In creating a strategy. It is not necessarily a confrontational strategy. It can be a co-existing strategy. But a strategy has to be there. Currently a strategy is not there. The conversation that the United States has with India is basically a conversation about the military aspects of it. That’s not going to cut it. That is not a vision. That is not even a strategy. That at best is a small piece of strategy.
That conversation has to begin. I do believe India has to have good relations with as many people as it can. I would like to look at the world where we are talking, having a conversation, even if you have two or three visions out there but there has to be a strategic vision. That is huge in India. We literally do not have a strategy. We have no concept of a strategy on… I was speaking some time back to the Foreign Minister and <pause> he is of the view we are going into multi-polar world and we need to sort of operate in a multi-polar world. That is not a strategy,” he said.
Few minutes later, he claimed that one cannot build a vision on a memory. You have to build a vision on imagination. China has imagination, they have conceptualised world and are going out and doing it.
Rahul Gandhi and his other ‘visions’
Kaushik Basu claims that Indira Gandhi ‘rectified’ the draconian Emergency imposed by her by holding elections at end of it and ‘losing’. This, after Rahul Gandhi claimed that she confided in him that she regretted the Emergency. Rahul Gandhi was 14 years old when his grandmother was assassinated. Quite matured for his age to have his Prime Minister grandmother confide in him that she ‘regretted’ something Congress as a party has always tried to whitewash. Till now, there is no such evidence of Indira Gandhi ever ‘regretting’ the Emergency.
Rahul Gandhi then goes on to lie about the migrant crisis during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. He claims the central government did not give money to the migrant workers and ‘gave Rs 1,50,000 crore to top 5-7-10 guys’. No substantial basis for this tirade. In fact, the central government and various state government, too, provided relief to the migrant workers as well as the poor. You could read about the relief package here.
Speaking on farm laws, Rahul Gandhi lies that one single businessman in India owns 40% cereals produced. However, that is not true. Private players who own storage infrastructure do not really own the produce stored in it. They merely store it for corporations like Food Corporation of India, which purchases the produce at MSP from farmers.
Rahul Gandhi’s ‘out of syllabus’ moment
When a Cornell student asked Rahul Gandhi about environment and climate change, Rahul Gandhi claimed how it is a political issue because when politicians try to explain ‘environment concern’ to poor, the poor have their own set of demands they require the politicians to fulfil and hence it does not take place. It is not clear what Rahul Gandhi meant, but one of the demands of protesting farmers from Punjab has been to not put a penalty over stubble burning which causes air pollution over Delhi and neighbouring states. The new farm laws impose such penalty which is why the Punjab farmers are against it and these protests have been supported by the Congress. Thereby, Congress, as a party, has taken a stand against the environment, which is why Rahul Gandhi may have called environment concerns a political issue.
Few minutes later, however, he does bring in the stubble burning issue and reveals how it is a vote-bank issue and how governments do not impose penalty or ask farmers to stop burning because they would lose vote. “If Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh asks farmers not to burn stubble, they will tell him, ok, we will not vote for you,” Rahul Gandhi reveals.
Rahul Gandhi then ‘warns’ of a ‘public reaction’ to the ‘concentration of wealth’ because all judges, college chancellors and others in other independent institutions are apparently hired ‘only because of their being RSS members’. He casually dismisses the educational qualification and experience of judges, administrators only because of their alleged inclination towards the nationalist Hindu organisation.
He claims that the Congress used to fight the RSS since it had no money but now that PM Modi has come to power, the ‘3-4 big businessmen’ are funding the RSS to ‘destroy’ smaller businesses. To put things in perspective and to show how Rahul Gandhi is blatantly lying, the small and medium enterprises are such an integral part of the supply chain that as of August 2020 they contribute about 40% of the overall exports.