Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of attempting to capture India’s institutions on Tuesday, saying decisions such as demonetisation were the result of the RSS having a say in government policy.
Gandhi was interacting with professionals and businessmen on the last of his four-day tour as part of the Janashirvada Yatra in Karnataka.
“How many of you know that in every single central ministry there is an OSD (officer on special duty) from the RSS working with the minister. The minister is not operating on his own. He is being guided by the RSS on what to do and the approach is to capture institutions,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi said wherever the BJP was governing, it planted people who adhered to its ideology.
“Take the Planning Commission, they changed it to NITI Aayog and planted their people. In Madhya Pradesh, thousands and thousands of teachers, basically they destroyed the education system of MP because they wanted to place their people.”
According to the Congress president, this approach was contrary to his party’s, which was to let the people capture the institution. “For us, institutions are sacred, we don’t believe that they belong to the Congress. Our tendency always is to democratise institutions.”
Refuting the charges, Union minister Sadananda Gowda said it reflected the situation that prevailed when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power. “Perhaps, in that government OSDs used to be people close to the Gandhi’s, which is why he feels a similar situation prevails now.”
The Congress-ruled Karnataka goes to the polls later this year.
Speaking on foreign policy, Gandhi said India was isolated because of the central government’s focus on Pakistan, as a result of which it was unable to see the encirclement of the country by China. He said a peaceful response had to be found to counter the Chinese and that could only be done by creating jobs.
“I’m sad to say that over the last four years it has been a really serious drop. But I will also say that even during the UPA we were nowhere near creating the number of jobs required. I would also include to a certain extent the Congress and the UPA in not being able to deliver 50,000 jobs,” Gandhi said.
To safeguard India, Gandhi argued, it was necessary for the country to become self-sufficient in food production. However, according to him, the current central government was relying on imports rather than strengthening farmers.
The Congress president said farmers wanted their children to get jobs and move to cities and creating 450 jobs a day, which he said was what was being achieved at present, would mean 90% of Indians would not be given jobs.
Gandhi also criticised the Goods and Services Tax and said if voted to power, the Congress would reform and simplify GST.
“The Congress’s concept of the GST was one tax capped at 18%. The BJP and NDA did not listen to this and they went ahead and you see the result,” Gandhi said.