BJP hits back after Rahul Gandhi says dynasties are common in India
New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday revived the debate on dynastic politics, telling a US audience that dynasties are common in India—a remark that led the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to call him a “failed dynast”.
Gandhi, who is on a trip of the US, made his comments during an interaction with students at the University of California, Berkeley. During his address, he also attacked the Narendra Modi-led government for “taking ad hoc decisions” like the demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
On Indian dynasties, he said, “Actually, most parties in India have that problem, so don’t give us stick. Mr Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) is a dynast. Mr Stalin (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) is a dynast... Even Abhishek Bachchan (Bollywood actor) is a dynast. That’s how India runs. Don’t get after me—because that’s how the entire country is running.” He was answering a question on why the Congress party is associated with dynastic politics.
“(Having said) that I do try to sort of change it in the Congress party. If you look at the Congress party, there are a large number of people who are actually not from dynastic politics at all, and I can name them from every state,” he added.
Gandhi, who is likely to take over the leadership of his party soon, is often criticized for promoting dynastic politics in India’s oldest political party.
Soon after Gandhi’s address, Union minister Smriti Irani held a press conference and said Gandhi was a “failed dynast” and criticized him for “belittling” Modi abroad.
“A failed dynast today chose to speak about his failed political journey in the US... the country (India) is not listening so he is speaking somewhere else,” Irani told reporters. “The fact that Rahul Gandhi chose to belittle the Prime Minister is not a surprise but expected... It is an indication of his failed strategy,” she added.
Gandhi took on policy decisions of the Modi government, including economic policies like demonetization and “hastily applied GST (goods and services tax)”, which he said “have caused tremendous damage” to the people. He also admitted that during 2012 “a certain arrogance crept” into the Congress party and it stopped communicating with the people.
Irani said this statement was a reflection on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was at the helm of the party then.